Roots Manuva – Bleeds
'The TVs and magazines keep them kinda hopeful that one day, in some way, they’ll get a lucky break, in the meantime that plant food provides a cheap escape,' mourns Rodney Smith on Bleeds' social lament and opener Hard Bastards, almost instantaneously quashing any notion that, having recently rerouted to the leafy London suburbs and now in middle age, the Brit-hop GOAT’s gimlet eye might have softened somewhat.
Clocking in at less than 40 minutes, Bleeds is the shortest, but arguably most eclectic and intense Roots Manuva album to date, taking in everything from Four Tet-produced electronic jitterbugs (2:11), to morose retrospectives (I Know Your Face) and experimental soul (Don’t Breathe Out). Mainstream recognition might have passed Smith by at this point, but to have achieved this sort of longevity while operating at the coalface of innovation speaks just as loudly as, if not louder than any amount of top 40 hits. Witness the fitness, indeed.