SINGLE: Roots Manuva meets Wrongtom – Jah Warriors
I listened to this record once and thought it was absolutely terrible. Now normally, that’s OK because I can listen to crap over-and-over and rip it to pieces. The whole review process is done in a day or two and I can relax. ‘Jah Warriors’ was so bad that I had to hide for a week before I touched the CD again. I honestly couldn’t bear to listen to it – and this review is being written on the third and last (ever) listening of this terrible, terrible piece of ‘music’.
The majority of this discordant effort (if any real effort went in to it at all) sounds like a tone-deaf fifteen-year-old DJ who has just managed to beat-match two tracks. Everything is in time, but the song is otherwise lamentably incongruous and detached, seemingly cobbled together with no forethought or cooperation.
The vocal melodies on ‘Jah Warriors’ are quite inventive and musical, but the backing track makes no effort to develop them harmonically, nor even to stay in tune with them. Roots Manuva’s collaborator Wrongtom does nothing more than lay down a beat and a monotonous one-bar steel-pan melody.
Second song ‘Bashment Bogle’ begins with the lyric “More vibe, more pressure, more vibe”, but the out-of-tune calypso drum is still there, jiving me. If there were more vibe, I might be happier- but there is more vibe in a library. It’s lyrically muddled, unclear and meaningless stuff, verging on the bizarre: “Saturday morning you’re playing the lottery, it could be you, it could be me”. I suppose time is relative and all that Stephen Hawkwind junk, but surely, 7:30pm doesn’t count as morning?
The third and final tune ‘Rebuff’ is definitely the best of the three – and it’s a poor remix of a 2008 single. If only I knew what “you buff ’nuff” meant, I might derive more from it; it’s clearly an integral part of the tune, as it’s repeated twenty times.
Unfortunately, there’s little evidence of the lyrical invention of ‘Witness the Fitness’, the emotion of ‘Too Cold’ or the grit of ‘Colossal Insight’. As a casual observer of Roots Manuva, it’s very disappointing. It’s even driven me to a bit of a crisis as a reviewer, because I really can’t express in words how completely rubbish this recording is. Can I give it zero stars? No?
Release Date 30/08/2010
8 responses copied over from our old blog (CityLifers)
- 27 08 2010
- citylifers (10:04:46):
For me, all tracks get a full five out five and am also loving the album of Wrongtom’s Roots Manuva reworks that is due out very soon.
Simon (CityLifers Ed)
Here’s an example of another rework by Wrongtom
Roots Manuva Meets Wrongtom “Dub For The Worms” by wrongtom
- 27 08 2010
- Tom (13:51:58):
Wow, that is a terrible review…and I don’t say that because the verdict of the review is that the EP is terrible I mean the review itself is terrible. Chris Oliver hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about and worse still hasn’t done the most basic of research. Asking him to write this was a bit like asking a gardener to review a computer component. The fact that he admits it takes him a day or two to write a review (of a single!!) is laughable, it’s a shame the editor let this through the net, it does him and the site a disservice.
I give this EP and the Duppywriter LP the tracks come off at least a 4 out of 5. Highly highly recommended
- 28 08 2010
- David (14:10:58):
Couldn’t agree more with Tom – this seems like such a ridiculous personal attack…. it comes across as amateur and as if he wasn’t even the right person to review the single in the first place.
- 28 08 2010
- Chris (15:26:04):
Thanks for the feedback Tom.
It’s great to get different people’s perspectives – but as preferences are a personal thing, I can only write my own opinions
It’s certainly true that this is not generally the style of music that I listen to, but I did still feel that this very much lacking in substance.
Just fyi, I take my time over listening to tunes so I am not just judging them on first impressions or without knowing the track inside-out. I like to let music sink in before I write about it.
Sorry you didn’t like the review – and I mean this genuinely – feel free to get in touch with the site about writing reviews yourself. 30 08 2010
- Ash (08:24:20):
Dreadful piece of writing, confounded by a dire opinion. An embarrassing piece of ‘journalism’.
- 31 08 2010
- talkingturkeywithburkey (21:07:48):
It’s irrelevant as to whether Chris likes the single, it’s a decent review. He’s being honest, brutally so, and obviously knows his onions with regards to musicianship (albeit maybe not in a hip-hop context).
Dire opinion? Nah, it’s just an opinion, although matching writers with their preferred genres would help give a more accurate view.
- 31 08 2010
- Chris Gilliver (21:27:31):
Our writers choose the releases they want to review. We do not choose them for them. It’s a free and fair system. Anyone criticising this review should be aware that a negative opinion contrary to what you feel about this track does not constitute bad journalism or writing. It is simply an opinion that differs from your own. Chris is one of our best writers. He knows his stuff and loves his music, and would not write such a harsh review unless he genuinely felt the track deserved it.