Roots Manuva Alternately Deep

When Roots Manuva emerged from the studio having cut nearly two albums worth of material during last year’s Awfully Deep sessions, the decision to keep things short and sweet essentially determined that disc’s 14-track line-up. Now, after a year of leaking the leftovers as b-sides and exclusives, the South London MC gives them their proper due, putting together a second record that could easily have been the first. Alternately Deep relies more on muscle than on the nuanced themes of its predecessor, delivering cut after cut of freaked, bottom-heavy bangers with a few interesting deviations mixed in to break up the assault. "Nobody’s Dancing” offers the first diversion, slowed down and with an uncharacteristically quant melody, while "Colossal Insight” gets a spacey remix treatment, replete with whirling phaser sounds and chattering synth beats. But the album’s sonics are best summed up in "Mean Street,” a dancehall-style bass and sitar match-up injected with a dubby hook and topped off by Manuva slipping in and out of drum & bass-type toasting on a track that screams out for genre specific remixes. (Big Dada)