Forward Ever album cover

Forward Ever album coverFor the many eager fans of Scotland’s finest export since stuffed sheep’s intestines (obligatory haggis reference), the new Mungo’s Hi Fi album has been a long time coming.

Indeed, although they’ve certainly unleashed their share of tasty releases over the past couple of years, by their own hyperactive standards this gaggle of Glaswegians have been mysteriously quiet since their acclaimed Sound System Champions LP dropped back in 2008.

But rest assured, they haven’t been sitting on their dates for the past three years eating deep-fried pizzas (a Glaswegian speciality). They’ve been hard at work in the riddim laboratory working on Forward Ever – set for release on 14 November.

With 15 tracks, all on unique riddims, the new album proudly showcases Mungo’s plethora of reggaematical influences and features a vast roster of exceedingly talented vocalists and MCs. Let’s run through some of the highlights.

Things kick off in the finest of styles with the sadly-missed Sugar Minott bigging up the Mungo sound with a lovely wee ditty appropriately named Scrubadub Style. It must have been one of Minott’s last vocal efforts before his untimely passing last year and the song is a testament to the joyous character of this true reggae legend.

Next up one of my all-time favourite Mungo’s releases – Pacey’s cut of the classic Errol Dunkley anthem Everyman Different. The synth-heavy riddim is an eccentric take on the original, but it works an absolute treat.

Then there’s Skidip featuring the talented youth Charlie P. At just 18 years of age this youngster has already made serious waves in the UK scene, and it’s easy to see why. When he’s singing he can sound a bit like a young Barrington Levy or a White Mice and, demonstrably in this track, the kid can fast chat too!

Computer Age sees Mr Williams discussing the virtues of the world wide web on a Mungo’s version of the Diseases riddim. Highly entertaining lyrics borrowing from the man like Nicodemus’ classic Bone Man Connection.

Respect must go through to Kenny Knots for his performance on Gimme Gimme. This one’s a lyrical stormer that perfectly compliments the high-octane Bogle riddim. Bound to blaze fire on nigh on any dancehall.

Soundboy Police will surely tickle the fancy of anyone with a soft spot for the delightfully obscure sound of late-80s UK digi-dub. I initially assumed that the scientists at Mungo’s Tech had devised a time machine and sent the Glaswegian motor-mouth Soom T back to 1988 for a collaboration with the legendary Offbeat Posse. However according to official sources this is not the case. Apparently the track was actually produced by the dreadlocked ginger guy in Mungo’s.

And finally, Omar Perry – son of Scratch – deserves a mention for his gruff vocal niceness on a typically tuff Mungo’s reggae dubstep fusion, Dem No Like It. Features the idiosyncratic stylings of Tom Tattersall on the piano accordion.

I could continue waxing lyrical about the virtues of this LP with reference to several other tracks featuring collaborations with the likes of Pupajim, Zeb and Scotty, YT and Ranking Levy. However I’m writing this on an iPod touch and my thumbs are starting to seize up, so I best sum up.

Forward Ever is further proof that Mungo’s are well ahead of the game when it comes to modern reggae production. With their superbly tight drum programming, surging dubstep-informed basslines, tasteful use of classic dub mixing techniques and above all their innate awareness of how to produce riddims that are quirky and heavy, but never cheesy, Mungo’s have developed a formula for dancehall domination that can’t be faulted.

With all this in mind, you’d have to be mad as a cut snake if you weren’t to bag Forward Ever for your record collection post-haste. 

More info:
Mungo’s Hi Fi website