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Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Roots down like this

If you've read a music magazine or looked at the broadsheet album reviews recently, it can't have escaped your notice that British hip hopper Roots Manuva has a new album out this week, Slime & Reason.

I'm a fan, and Witness remains probably the best British hip hop track ever. But even as a fan who was aware of, if not actually anticipating, the new album's release, I was pretty shocked to see some of the stonking reviews that have been rolling in for Roots.

The Observer have hailed it as "an instant classic" and the sometimes reticent Dan Cairns in the Sunday Times proclaims it to be "sensational" with a 5/5 rating. They weren't alone, with Uncut awarding it 4/5. It hasn't quite been universal acclaim and for the top marks reviews, there have been plenty 3/5s. But still, to just get one of those glowing reports is pretty impressive, but more than one? That certainly makes for an album worth investigating.

So I did. Am, in fact. It's on the stereo right now. And it is good, though whether I'd have spotted it as, or awarded it myself, 5/5, is another matter. I'll have to let it sink in, I think. Which is something that a lot of reviewers don't have the opportunity to do, which makes those A grade reviews even more interesting - they clearly heard something pretty instant and classic about it that hasn't struck me yet. Still, no one ever said good things came easy.

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