In the late 2000s, a hybrid genre that came to be called "U.K. funky" (or just "funky" for short, which has led to lots of confusing music journalism) began to emerge from the always fertile dance clubs of London. It's a crazy-quilt mashup of U.K. garage, hip-hop, soca, and grime, sometimes featuring a four-on-the-floor house beat and sometimes lurching and limping with a grime/dubstep zombie rhythm. Roska was an early star on the funky scene; however, he came to funky from grime, and has never completely let go of that sensibility. That's what makes an album like this one so much fun: "You Dun Kno" draws deeply on the funky verities with lots of dub and dancehall influences thrown in for good measure; "OnRinseSinceZeroEight" (as its title suggests) evokes the glory days of grime, alternating between a staggering, robotic half-step beat and 4/4 house, all of it underpinned by a simple and classic wub-wub-wub bassline. There's some raunchy cockney loverman rapping from Jamie George on "Do You Like This," and some very fine rockstone-style Jamaican toasting from Sweetie Irie on the very grimy "Badman." Even the weaker spots suffer only in comparison to the album's many highlights; in absolute terms they're not bad at all: "The Oracle" is hard, but minimal to the point of eventual boredom, and "Metric" is a bit goofy and lightweight but still lots of fun. One or two other tracks are somewhat baffling (listen to "Memories" and imagine Berlin crossed with Björk), but everything here is well worth your time.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson