Keep It Unreal

With a four-year trail of often brilliantly wayward 12"s behind him, it's taken Manchester's [b]Andy Carthy[/B] ages to release his debut album....

With a four-year trail of often brilliantly wayward 12"s behind him, it's taken Manchester's Andy Carthy ages to release his debut album. He's no perfectionist, however: his preferred masterplan is "not to do anything very specific," while the intro to 'Keep It Unreal' is a mix of dead air and Mary Anne Hobbs &- who's wondering where the hell he is, as he arrives late for a Radio 1 guest slot. Ambition? Professionalism? Carthy didn't opt for a Scruffy alter ego for nothing.

He's no fool, mind. With the emergence of cooler electronica strains from Four Tet, Boards Of Canada et al leaving much of the 'wackier', faux-funky home-listening fare sounding redundant, Scruff has wisely focused on his clubbier inclinations. Racy house of a wonderfully toothsome nature ensues on 'Get A Move On', therefore, while 'Cheeky' befits its name on a journey back to US garage's halcyon age.

In fact, even when he does let the tempo dip, Scruff retains a purpose amid his cut'n'paste experiments. Though you might want to dodge the horrors of the (possibly) Jackanory-sampling 'Shanty', it's worth waiting for a killer collaboration with Roots Manuva ('Jus Jus') and the rare groove finesse of 'So Long'. In all, enough to have you hoping that it's sooner, rather than later, that Scruff gets unspecific again.
7 / 10

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