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Mungo's Hi Fi Meets Kenny Knots - Brand New Bangarang

Mungo's Hi Fi Meets Kenny Knots - Brand New Bangarang

Mungo's Hi Fi Meets Kenny Knots - Brand New Bangarang

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Mungo's crucial collaborator takes centre stage.


Scotland’s Mungo’s Hi Fi Sound are known worldwide for their distinctive post-industrial take on reggae and dancehall. Where many UK digital contemporaries were following the roots of Jah Shaka, it’s easy to imagine them as young Glaswegians more intrigued by the computer sounds of say, Jammys. An audible influence on Mungo’s Tom Tattershall’s productions is clearly London’s Unity Sound, run by Robert “Selector Ribs” Fearon in the mid to late 80s. And for Mungo’s fourth long-format issuing, they have teamed with one of Unity’s microphone alumni and their own most crucial collaborators - Kenneth Wright AKA Kenny Knots - for a mini LP/extended EP where he takes centre stage.

Mungo's Hi Fi meets Kenny KnotsKenny and Mungos are like ackee and saltfish or De Niro and Scorsese. Moreover, Knots’ thoughtful heartfelt lyrics and ability to put a song together are an antidote to younger, skilled but topically limited mcs talking clash and ganja on Mungo’s third longplayer 'Forward Ever'.  Kenny is a versatile deejay-singer and socio-cultural commentator whose contributions to the Scots’ second set 'Sound System Champions' stood out in the exalted company of the likes of Tippa Irie and Ranking Joe.

The cover - Knots riding a surfboard daubed in the flag of Mungo’s Scotch Bonnet Records while a wrecking ball smashes all in his wake - sums up the propulsive, destructive nature of the music within. The majority of tracks are slow hypnotic squelchy bangers that invoke a sweaty club in the wee hours, with thoughts of a night bus tickling the back of an occupied mind. One Life to Live passes down grand-paternal wisdom on the saw-toothed Everyman rhythm. The obligatory sound burial call Word Sound and Power features another Unity vocalist, the great Mikey Murka, an insistent eighth note melodica, a bassline to disturb the digestion, and a cultural lyrical edge. On a less combative cleansing dance vibe is the title track, over the creeping Old Time Dance rhythm – with a verse cussing the venue smoking ban.

But it is the more melodic side of Mungo and Knots, showcasing their skills as songwriters, that really shines. She Got Love For Me is in UK reggae’s tradition of roots lovers songs (think Red Eyes by Vivian Jones) oozing positivity from every speaker.

All inclusions are new save the uptempo Gimme Gimme atop the whomping Bogle backing, which appeared on 'Forward Ever', and Rock Inna Dancehall that came out on 10” on the Mary Jane. Choose the CD edition for different mixes of the two best sides from 'Sound System Champions' included as a bonus. Don’t Let Them is among Brit reggae’s most cutting anti paedophile missives (bar a certain as yet unreleased lyric by a certain Saxon mc…). Rasta Meditation is pure upliftment, surfing an expansive moonwalking swing on the Heavenless classic, Mungo’s style.

Mungos don’t make bad albums (although 'Sound System Champions' remains their best simply because it featured horns). Lyrically stronger than 'Forward Ever' with the usual production standards, this is a companion to their debut set with Brother Culture. It contains enough fresh slabs for Mungo’s maniacs while being as good an introduction for the newcomers as any album so far.

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