“Ninja Tuna” – a bollocking big fish that can sneak past armed guards dressed in black p.j.s before unleashing a deadly attack using only the tops the of the tin cans which were meant to entomb him.
The Eric Morecambe of contemporary dance music (by which we mean he’s a genius, not that he wears glasses) returns to the long-playing record fray with his first studio album since the scrumptious “Trouser Jazz” and he’s sounding in finer fettle than ever. “Ninja Tuna” is an album that mixes up all of Andy Carthy’s favourite influences and turns them into a funny, unique, amiable and distinctively British sound which will start parties, destroy dancefloors and soundtrack your spring cleaning so successfully you’ll find yourself getting deep into that dusting.
From the soul-jazz of “Music Takes Me Up” (featuring the golden lungs of Alice Russell), through the cartoonish tail-swishing of “Donkey Ride”, on into the monstrous bass parps of “Whiplash,” past a superb cameo from Roots Manuva (“Nice Up The Function,”) and across the bit where the bass comes back and is Stronger And More Dangerous Than Ever (“Bang The Floor” with Danny Breaks), this is an album which just keeps on growing on you. Every tune has been roadtested at Scruff’s epic club nights and it shows on the disco-builder “Get On Down”, the muddy funkster “Hold On” (featuring Andreya Triana), the utterly massive “Give Up To Get” and a latino finale held together by “Kalimba” and the endearingly ramshackle “Stockport Canrival”
Mr Scruff’s combination of taking his music very seriously while managing not to take himself too seriously has made him unique in British dance and has helped him forge a sound and philosophy in which drinking tea holds mythological status and where it’s always the music which gets you high. “Ninja Tuna” is his finest work to date, moving with all the power and grace of a fifty ton whale deep below the ocean, its cavernous belly packed with happy, partying potato people. Cod, it’s good.
You’ve had you’re “Ninja Tuna” now get hooked by “Bonus Bait”. (You see what we did there..?). Typicla innit? Mr Scruff, the wobble-bottomed beggetter of the beat, took yonks over making his last album, the critically-acclaimed, commercially successful and way fonky “Ninja Tuna.” And then delivered far too many tracks.
Rather than waste ’em, Ninja Tune and oor Scruff decided to release them for download only (unless you live the United States of Obama, in which case they’re on a second shiny silver disc). And here they is.
What we feel obliged to tell you is that these tunes are just what you’d expect in the best possible way. The Stockport Stunna makes dance music with a funny, unique, amiable and distinctively British sound which will start parties, destroy dancefloors and soundtrack your tax return lowpoints so marvellously you might even enjoy paying the final bill.
As well as marvellous funk-disco-wonk like “Rocking Chair,” JBs-style instro-jams (“Fix That Speaker”), two versions of the surprisingly squelchy “Cat & Mouse,” a dub and some quality b-side action, the Scruffster also reminds us he likes his UK hip hop by inviting Broke ‘n’ English and Skuff and Inja to join him (the latter offering a surprisingly comprehensive ode to the Ninja back catalogue). It’s a really fantastic little record, a bonus, yes, but something which stands up in its own right.
Mr Scruff’s combination of taking his music very seriously while managing not to take himself too seriously has made him unique in British dance and has helped him forge a sound and philosophy in which drinking tea holds mythological status and where it’s always the music which gets you high. If “Ninja Tuna” was his finest work to date, “Bonus Bait” shows he can keep you hanging on his line as long as he likes. Oooh, missus.