Album Review: Mr Benn / ‘Shake A Leg’ (Nice Up!)

Mr Benn Shake a Leg


You’d hazard a guess that Mr Benn is no good to anyone in the winter months. In fact hibernation may be to the benefit of the Bristol-based conductor, giving himself ample time to store up fair-weather vibes. So when Daisy Dukes and sunglasses make an appearance, the dub/reggae unit frontman homes in on festival season and flatbed floats at a full lick.

Amongst the bouncy, sun-powered partying and instruction to get hips on heavy rotation from gravel-voiced selectors, sassy dancehall instructors, hula contest judges and long-term operators like The Ragga Twins and Top Cat, is a concerted display of social conscience. Making you reflect seems at odds with putting your backbone out, but Benn knows tradition. “No More Guns” as rallied by Tenor Fly and the Peppery-steered “Know Themself,” plus “Stand Up” lead by Nanci Correia — a practical, sweeter opposite — have the pace braking for horns to sound off responsibly while applying a live stage chokehold. A friends close/enemies closer theme (“Shame”) sounds like all concerned have had their fingers burnt, with a little hip-hop/bashment casting Serocee (“Rising Star” showing street level prudence) giving the album a thin slice of variation in its delivery.

Is Benn’s soundsystem different to any other? Well his bass can get murkier than most, liable to twist as it boxes your ears at a traditional skank level. For his energetic and earnest endeavours, the great outdoors awaits.

File under: Dirty Dubsters, Prince Fatty, Wrongtom

Compilation Review: ‘Aquasky presents Bring The Ruckus’ (Passenger)

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Bass — a twin stroke turbo of skidding past your ears and shuffling your vital organs. Booty-hunting ragga — brought in to hype the party until the cops shut it down. And dusty dub — sent bouncing into a saw-toothed spotlight. Even if you think it’s a 19-track statement featuring a lot of familiar sounds, faces and samples — as big a rush as Bring the Ruckus provides, there’s no denying some same old stories — it seems to be filling a nice gap between EDM and bro-step through its big dipper of BPMs. See The Autobots & Dead Audio joining forces to get hands raised, and MadRush’s “Get Ya Vs Up” creating an elbow-skinning sea of two-fingered salutes.

Hectic yet schooling some of dubstep’s in-yer-face projectiles when the likes of RadioKillaz add the rave string to the bow, breaks shouldn’t start marketing itself as some intermediary third wheel. EDM’s sap and smiley simplistics aren’t up for discussion either. Rennie Pilgrem’s fireball “One By One” heads a pack constantly breaking the back of wack parties and revelling as the energy drink-mainlining renegade, with 601’s “Strobelight” looking for the nearest china shop to clatter into. Aquasky remind everyone of breaks’ energy levels that are never found dropping to show it won’t get left behind in the bass trends race. That title repels what others throw at it, creating some fearsome bottom end monsters as retaliation.

File under: Far Too Loud, Black & Blunt, Breakfastaz