Ultra Obscene

...[a]Roni Size[/a] and [a]Reprazent[/a] sidekick [B]DJ Die[/B] have finally re-emerged proper under the moniker [B]Breakbeat Era[/B]....

When Roni Size and Reprazent won the Mercury Music Prize in 1997, there was clearly a part of them that baulked at the idea of a bunch of three-album-a-year middle-class types kneeling on shag-pile carpets around coffee tables, putting on 'New Forms', and saying, "You've got to hear this, it's called jungle music, it's bloody great", that prompted them to hurtle back voluntarily to the relative obscurity of their home town of Bristol.

Now Roni Size and Reprazent sidekick DJ Die have finally re-emerged proper under the moniker Breakbeat Era. They're joined by singer-songwriter Leonie Laws, who busked all over the world before hooking up with the Full Cycle posse in Bristol.

Together they've forged an antithesis to the skittering, jazzy, feel-up drum'n'bass of 'New Forms'. Hence 'Rancid', with its Shaft-like shrieking flutes and snatches of Hendrix, or 'Our Disease', rhythms flying in the face like splinters, a breakneck breakbeat pace hurtling backwards at 90mph down a back alley.

Vocalist Laws brings a serrated, downbeat angst to proceedings. "Here's to another crap weekend/ You lie to yourself and shit on all your friends..." she sings on 'Time 4 Breaks', her taut, jazzy vocals conveying as alluringly as possible those moments when you're leaning over the kitchen sink and trying to suppress a nervous breakdown.

If this is coffee table stuff it's for those who like their coffee very, very black indeed.
7 / 10

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