Album Review: Mr Benn / ‘Shake A Leg’ (Nice Up!)

Mr Benn Shake a Leg


You’d hazard a guess that Mr Benn is no good to anyone in the winter months. In fact hibernation may be to the benefit of the Bristol-based conductor, giving himself ample time to store up fair-weather vibes. So when Daisy Dukes and sunglasses make an appearance, the dub/reggae unit frontman homes in on festival season and flatbed floats at a full lick.

Amongst the bouncy, sun-powered partying and instruction to get hips on heavy rotation from gravel-voiced selectors, sassy dancehall instructors, hula contest judges and long-term operators like The Ragga Twins and Top Cat, is a concerted display of social conscience. Making you reflect seems at odds with putting your backbone out, but Benn knows tradition. “No More Guns” as rallied by Tenor Fly and the Peppery-steered “Know Themself,” plus “Stand Up” lead by Nanci Correia — a practical, sweeter opposite — have the pace braking for horns to sound off responsibly while applying a live stage chokehold. A friends close/enemies closer theme (“Shame”) sounds like all concerned have had their fingers burnt, with a little hip-hop/bashment casting Serocee (“Rising Star” showing street level prudence) giving the album a thin slice of variation in its delivery.

Is Benn’s soundsystem different to any other? Well his bass can get murkier than most, liable to twist as it boxes your ears at a traditional skank level. For his energetic and earnest endeavours, the great outdoors awaits.

File under: Dirty Dubsters, Prince Fatty, Wrongtom