Roots Manuva Switching Sides EP on Picture Disc 12" Vinyl
Roots Manuva returns with yet another cutting-edge vinyl packed with the kind of combination of "bass and verb" which has made him one of the UK's most essential musical artists. Off the back of the universally-acclaimed Bleeds album, Manuva has cooked up three brand new tracks to go alongside the astounding "Crying" and "One Thing" from that collection. All 5 tracks are produced by Switch under his new production banner With You. With You is Switch and Daouda Leonard (assisted by Stabber), on this outing, with a little help from their friends Crookers, Toddla T, Coldcut and were written, recorded and produced at his studio in Los Angeles during the Bleeds sessions.
"Iron Shirt" kicks off the package, paying homage to Max Romeo in name only, a twitching, hard-rhyming package brought into sudden, funky focus by a vocoder chorus. Lead track "Crying" was one of the stand-outs from Bleeds – a furious lyric over chimes and baby cries, a study in paranoia. "Body Hot" harks back to Manuva classics like "Buff Nuff" – perhaps the most abstract take on dancehall this South London maverick has ever made. "Watch," sees Rodney Smith riding a live-sounding break and lashings of sub-bass while jumping from deadpan Londonisms to Funkadelic flourishes to Jamaican patois. The EP is rounded out by "One Thing," a perfect Manuva vehicle where a playground refrain pulls us out of any and all comfort zones and into conceptual deep space. And, as if those five tracks aren't enough to excite the most jaded of palettes, flip the vinyl and you've got the instrumentals of them all to enjoy, too.
Bleeds was hailed as a massive return to form Smith, with his recent live shows also widely acclaimed. The Switching Sides EP goes further to consolidate the notion that, after six studio albums, this is genuinely an artist who is still capable of leading where others can only follow. Every release from one of the great English lyricists is an event to be celebrated and this one most definitely doesn't buck that trend.