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

Album Review: Deekline & Ed Solo / ‘Bounce n Shake’ (Rat)

Deekline Ed Solo Bounce n Shake


Deekline and Solo’s constant of putting the ass into bass is one long car chase up and down San Francisco-style slopes, revving through box-strewn alleyways and doing perfect figure of eight skids right in front of the camera. Get to the heart of the matter and the here and now of the rave first, without going on about it over and over like numerous EDM soothsayers; and, save for “Can’t Hide It,” get in and out at the double.

So, rapid firestarting for a 21-track double-pack with a taste of the familiar – Zhane’s “Hey DJ,” Dawn Penn’s “No No No,” Boris D’Lugosch’s “Hold Your Head up High” to name three sources. Dubstep, breaks, drum ‘n’ bass and the cooperation of all three at once makes the album disappointingly close-knit, going on to make the ragga-house option “Champion Number 1” a lonely cliché. However, driven by ragga rough riders joining up to kick the party up the backside (“Dancehall Tribute” is simple, skankable fun) and girly orchestrators of weekend hatchet jobs around handbags, every possible convention/back catalogue check, emphatically whacks the nail on the head. Despite rushing through, the pair barely leave a soundsystem skidmark in what’s a digitally-brushed typhoon speckled with cheese.

An album that gives itself every chance of spanking festival tents and stages while working the crossover vote (“Weekend Lover”). Unoriginal, yes — clean bassy fun, more so if you’re balanced on someone’s shoulders.

File under: Aquasky, Freefall Collective, Skool of Thought