Release Date. 03/10/11
Catalogue Number. BD190
4everevolution is just a few seconds under an hour long, consists of seventeen tracks and covers every style from wonky reggae through pop-funk, street spitting, straight up hip hop, sung ballads and epic death-disco. It deepens much of what Mr Manuva has already achieved over a glorious decade of innovation, but also throws in enough new ideas and adventures to last most creative artists a lifetime. We think it's his very best work since Run Come Save Me. We're wondering (whisper it) whether it might be his best album ever.
Much of 4everevolution was made in conjunction with various members of Smith’s Banana Klan crew. Production for “Revelation” and string arrangements on Smith’s own “Skid Valley” came from Gibbs King, Ollie and Olmino produced the monster-funk number “Beyond This World”. Meanwhile, current and former band members play drums, guitar and bass on a variety of tracks (as did Mr Manuva himself), while longtime side-man Ricky Ranking crops up with vocal contributions on “Wha’ Mek” and the darkest of toasts on “In The Throes Of It”. DJ MK, meanwhile, adds chorus vocals to “Banana Skank” – a croonsome new direction for the veteran turntablist! – and Daddy Kope spits in the style of UK hip hop’s finest on “Crow Bars”. The only other productions on the record not from Manuva’s own hand arrives via the antipodes. Producers Dizz1 (“Here We Go Again”) and Monkeymarc (“Who Goes There?”) show how much of Manuva’s unquantized lope has been absorbed by producers on the other side of the world. In addition to Ranking and MK, vocal contributions come from Skunk Anansie’s Skin (on the state-of-the-nation diatribe “Skid Valley”, which also features Skunk Anansie’s legendary bass player, Cass Lewis), new talents Rokhsan (on both first single “Get The Get” and “Beyond This World”) and Elan Tamara (“The Path”) compete for glory with the beauty of the voice of a veteran like Spikey Tee (“Here We Go Again”). Perhaps the most touching singing on the record, though, comes from Manuva himself, who flexes his melodic jones on a trio of tracks which perhaps reaches its peak on the loping, self-effacing ballad “Wha’ Mek?”
Overall, despite the presence of this or that guest, the vision remains that of one man. Roots Manuva has honed his craft across four previous studio albums, picking up a MOBO, plus Brit and Mercury nominations along the way. This record, though, represents some of his freshest, most urgent work. Whether castigating politicians or his own failings, joking about girls or spinning yarns about men in love with their computers, ruminating on the void at the heart of "urban" music or bigging himself up, crooning an apology or growling ridiculous sex rhymes, Roots Manuva remains one of the foremost lyricists and musicians of his generation. Cherish him – he’s the very best we’ve got.