Mungo’s HiFi, the sound system champions, are back with their new album “Serious Time”, taking reggae music forwards ever.
What is apparent with this album is how versatile Mungo’s HiFi have become. Their debut album “Sound System Champions” had a very roots feel to it, with a lot of horns, rub a dub and ska overtones. On the other hand, “Forward Ever” seemed to be much more of an exploration, where they appeared to be searching for their own style, incorporating hints of dubstep, digital, and more electronic aesthetics.
With Serious Time, Mungo’s HiFi seem to have now found their place. The word that comes to mind is confident. Although their tunes vary from roots and dancehall to more modern sounds – it is still possible to say that they all have a ‘Mungo’s feel’ to them. While they acknowledge the influence of roots and maybe more old school stuff, they have managed not to get stuck into one particular genre. One could say this album represents Mungo’s HiFi’s ethos, which is – well, “Forward Ever”, to go beyond any attempt to pigeonhole.
Most of the songs in the album have been sound system scorchers for the last year or so, with crowds dancing to them without being able to listen to them outside of sessions (yeah, “Nice it up”, I’m looking at you!). And as always the selection of guest MCs is great, mixing established artists with up-and-coming talent.
Cornel Campbell’s “Jah Say Love” and Warrior Queen’s “Can’t Stand It” provide the rootsier side of the album. “Can’t Stand It” is especially refreshing. Recently Warrior Queen has been featured mainly on dubstep and more bass orientated tunes, so hearing her over a riddim that could have come straight out of 70’s jamaica works wonders.
Speng Bond’s “Animal Dance”, “Gunman Posse” with Peter Metro & Squiddly, and Blackout JA’s “Overcome” bring it back to the dancehall days, and you can be sure they will make any session several degrees hotter.
And then we have Mungo’s HiFi’s more modern sounds. In Dancehall School”, Solo Banton teaches us Dancehall 101 with a vocal dexterity that only he can master over Mungo’s take on Sleng Teng; while Marina P’s “Slavery” combines conscious lyrics and a deep, dubstep induced riddim.
To be honest, from “31st Century Song” and “Thinking of an Island’s” early digital sounds, to “Babylon A Come’s” stepper influence, it is safe to say there is something for everyone on this album.
Also, the design of the album cover. I mean come on – I would have happily bought the record just for that! Great work from My Lord Sound’s Ellen G.
Mungo’s Hi Fi – Serious Time
01. Serious time feat. YT
02. Can’t stand it feat. Warrior Queen
03. 31st Century song feat. Soom T
04. Bike Rider feat. Pupajim
05. Thousand style feat. Mr Williamz
06. Animal dance feat. Speng Bond
07. Thinking of an island feat. Soom T
08. Slavery feat. Marina P
09. Dancehall school feat. Solo Banton
10. Nice it up feat. Charlie P
11. Gunman posse feat. Peter Metro & Squiddly
12. Overcome feat. Blackout JA
13. Traveller feat. Charlie P
14. Babylon a come feat. Parly B
15. Jah say love feat. Cornel Campbell
Available at Scotch Bonnet Records