Record Review: Mungo’s Hi Fi – Forward Ever (Scotch Bonnet)

Mungo’s Hi Fi continue their musical invasion. They employ again a host of talented reggae voices to deliver an explosive Rastafari dancefloor blend in the unique Mungo’s tradition. Everything is set up with the sole purpose to keep you up and dancing! Sound, words and power!

Freegan Kolektiva wants to bring Mungo’s Hi Fi -the rastafari dancefloor powerhouse-  to your attention. Listen to this ultra-heavy bass loaded dancehall/reggae set and get up dancing! The Mungo’s sound is more fluid than ever, their style even more refined! Plus some consciousness! Rise up!

Mungo’s Hi Fi, from Glasgow, have been one of the most important soundsystems of the last years bringing the edge to contemporary reggae music to fill up the dancefloors. They managed to reap all the push the genre has received from the renewed interest for slower ultra-heavy bass culture (dubstep). Moreover, they managed to craft a unique sound that is immediately recognizable. They are known for their notorious dubstep-infused bass lines that are propelling their resurgent 80′s digital dancehall style and more traditional ska/reggae anthems.  Additionally, you can expect to listen to the best reggae singers/deejays around in their releases.

Mungo’s Hi Fi have been playing around for some time so their new album was widely-anticipated. They managed to gather all their recent hits with the addition of some new originals. Well, we can say that it is probably their most complete effort to date, keeping their position at the forefronts of the European dub soundsystems.

While the record starts dynamically with ‘Scrub A Dub Style’ (with the legendary Sugar Minott on the mic), the vibes are building up through the excellent mellow vocals of Pacey in the second number (‘Everyman Different‘) to hit the sky with the third blow ‘Skidip’. It is a throwback dancehall tune with cool oldskool synths and the outstanding playful vocals of Charlie P ala Barington Levy/Andrew Paul. This reggae blast cannot let me sit down and write this review!!!

Mungo’s Hi Fi

After that we go more into rough ragga/dancehall vocals (courtesy of Mr. Williamz) and sound. ‘Computer Age’ is a pure dancefloor smasher – can’t wait to play it around! The song talks about the rapid change of technology into the digital era and how it affects music and groups like Mungo’s.   Kenny Knots is a competent deejay, showcased once again here riding the Mungo riddim in various styles from melodic to more rough. Pupajim gives an excellent retro dancehall flavor on the ‘Boat People’ that reminds strongly Tenor Saw in rhythm and tone. The conscious lyrics are wide-awake and sharp, pinpointing at the powerlessness that poverty can dictate e.g. deprivation of your rights to cross borders (I know so many people like this).

Scream’ features the trademark ‘fat’ & ‘crunchy’ vibrating bass support of Mungo’s Hi Fi (with the ‘Buffalo Soldier’ riddim that appeared on the Reggae Roast compilation earlier this year, also reminding ‘Babylon’ and ‘Belly Ska Remix’) with a prominent YT vocal performance. Crucial ‘Chant down babylon’ lyrics; YT is at the top of the game again. ‘Dem No Like It’ continues with tough grooves and vocals (Omar Perry) until the roughness brakes with the oldskool ska of ‘Bad Bad Boy’ (feat. Soom T). Kudos for the eclectic taste of 60’s Jamaican sound on the track. Reggae toasting comes on  stage with Ranking Levy’s chatting on the outstanding ‘New York Boogie’.

Warm Up’ is a cheerful upbeat tune that grabs you from the neck to make you dance; positive as reggae should be. Togetherness and joy! Bless up! ‘Session Pon Top’ is all about the dancehall, great number! Soom T then returns on the mic with a very different sound and style (‘Soundboy Police‘) : this time in a more fast ragga/dancehall session. Towards the end Mr. Williamz hits again with one of the best tunes of the album: ‘Musically Mad’ is a dancehall smasher with excellent rhyming and more dubstep driven sub-bass assistance.  Pumping ‘chunky’ bass comes also in the album’s closer ‘High Grade’.

Check the new video for ‘Musically Mad’ feat. Mr. Williamz:

From all sides, it seems to be the most complete piece of work from Mungo’s Hi Fi. After years on decks and in the studio, countless collaborations with the most crucial reggae voices etc. Mungo’s are maturing, being in the forefront of truly conscious roots dub soundsystem culture. Mungo’s know how to keep a good pace and flow in the record in order to keep the listener interested or practicing some acrobatic dance moves all around the place.

Freegan Kolektiva wishes them to set up more parties and uphold their studio activities. They have done the most up to now to advance the European reggae culture. Respect! They seem to be proficient enough to produce one reggae blast after the other, something that comes out of years of focusing on their powerful sound. Not many dubstep or electronica leanings in this record compared to the past: straight rasta vibes for the dance set. The cover puts it clearly; it is exactly how all the dub soundsystem parties that I have joined or arranged are.

Links: Mungo’s Hi Fi official website

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