Belvedere Jehosophat - Tuesday, 19 July 2005
Excluding the first track which is a mostly-instrumental reverse-reprise of the last track and a tiny 22-second interlude Run Come Save Me is still pretty short for an album that spans fifteen tracks. Coming and going in 55-odd minutes it never outstays its welcome, which is something of a relief because, talented as Roots Manuva may be, it is often difficult and rare for a single MC to keep a listener interested for too long.
The single is obviously "Witness (1 Hope)," and rightly so as this song is an absolute monster with a beat that's built for nodding.
The second (and only other, I think) single was "Dreamy Days" which closes out the album. I wasn't particularly impressed when I first heard "Dreamy Days" and, in fact, put off buying Run Come Save Me for so long because of it. However, in context with the rest of the album (and as the final song) it holds up a lot better than as a single and it leaves a great lasting impression.
English beats are different from American beats: not necessarily better, just different. Attention in Run Come Save Me is paid to not just the break but the sound of the beat in the break. This makes sense given the tradition of electronica in the UK. (Roots Manuva must have a taste for this given his close ties with Ninja Tune.) And then, of course, there's the ragga and dub influence.
Whichever way, the production is top notch all the way, and an excellent backing to Roots Manuva's idiosyncratic yet never insular flow.
There are several guests scattered throughout the CD, most of them towards the end, save for an appearance by the ubiquitous Chali 2na in the first half of the album. Seriously, was there a hip hop CD released in 2001 that Chali 2na didn't guest on? I'm not complaining, mind, as he always does good work, and "Join the Dots" is no exception.
(Interestingly, though both Chali 2na and Roots Manuva rock the monotone baritone they sound so different that they complement each other pretty well.)
Outside of a slightly directionless middle Run Come Save Me is an excellent hip hop CD that really must be heard.
For what it's worth "Ital Visions" is worth the 30 bucks alone.
Too many fat, sad vatos sitting in jail, guilty of crimes they didn't commit. My heart's in two.