'Ninja Tuna' is truly eclectic...
Alastair Thompson
14:52 9th October 2008

Andy Carthy is an uncomplicated man. He likes a good brew, a good pie and the occasional walk in the Peak District. “Simple pleasures” as he puts it. Yet, under the guise of Mr. Scruff; he is anything but. ‘Ninja Tuna’ is truly eclectic as Scruff effortlessly combines jazz, blues, drum & bass, deep house, breakbeat, hip hop and between whilst all the wile managing the smoothest of deliveries. 

‘Think of life without music, silence the whole day long’

Scruff doesn’t give you a chance to even consider it but if you did he’d have you kissing strangers for the Mr. Potato-Head ears plastered to your face. ‘Music Takes Me Up’ is vast. A jazzy-piano riff accompanies the lightest of breakbeats before the majesty of Alice Russell’s voices takes things higher than high. ‘When the drums come calling / The bassline pulls you in / Sounds of regal splendour / Fit for a King and Queen.’

By the time ‘Hold On’ comes round (7 tracks later) Russell has been replaced by Andreya Triana. The feel is the same but the contrast of light and dark is much stronger as the beat has been cranked up much closer to dirt. The vocals stutter over the clipped loop before falling eloquently back into time. ‘Give Up To Get’ follows with a tougher grimier feel yet still brass-heavy balance. It’s hard to keep still but then it’s hard to get up off the sofa feeling this relaxed, queue arm waving in the most ungainly Royal fashion. 

Roots Manuva takes the reigns over a Witness-like warpy beat in ‘Up The Function’, feeding into ‘Bang The Floor’ with the kind of aplomb last seen by the carrot-paste laden flying aeroplane. You know it’s coming and you can’t get your mouth open wide enough.

Though ‘Kalimba’ is the pick. Starting with a Carribean beat so uplifting you’d think you’d chinned a Lilt, the strings follow before the familiar brass returns for a sure fire dancefloor filler. The build-up, quite simply, better than David Cameron getting his bike pinched, eases in as strings begin to dominate and the pace quickens and falls before a colossal beat drops that’ll have paraplegics reaching for the air. Quite simply, it’s stunning.

‘Ninja Tuna’ literally works anywhere. In fact, play it on ‘Come Dine With Me’ and you could get away with serving pasties. It’s that good. With the cost of living rising quicker than Hugh Grant under a red light, ‘Ninja Tuna’ is a whole lot more for your hard-earned spondolies.

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