Reggae music has always had the ability to conjure up summer vibes. This album does a wonderful job of bridging the gap till we get there.
Mungo’s Hi Fi has steadily applied their trade as a UK sound system which has gained recognition amongst reggae heads. However, that was before the emergence of the wonderful lyricist Charlie P.
Glasgow is not the most obvious place to think of when considering reggae music. It's hard to imagine the summer vibe and palm trees amongst the inner city streets of Pollok, Newlands or Giffnock on the Southside.
However it’s proof, if any was needed, that music, and in particular reggae, has an ability to transcend places and culture. Charlie P is a skinny white kid from Glasgow, yet his voice mixed with Mungo's sound system is an outstanding collaboration that could easily come straight from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica.
As if to prove this point, on 'Music Politics' he states that he “does music for the fun of it” and even comments on his arrival onto the reggae scene with: “I will be there at the end/I was not there at the start.”
Mungo’s Hi Fi gives him the perfect platform to display his wonderful talent. The content is still in traditional reggae mould. He speaks of dancehall clashes and smoking the herb among other conscious lyrics. However, it feels as though it's his own experiences that drive his lyrics. On ‘Traveller’ he speaks of “smoking sweet marijuana, crossing over the borders and facing no dramas.”
It's his honesty and his story, combined with the fantastic rhythm and deep pounding baselines that seem to shake your soul that draw you in and keep you listening. On ‘Society’ it's the infectious baseline that Mungo’s Hi Fi pound out that drive the track, as Charlie P almost takes a back seat, but still manages to throw down truths such as: “The youth of today have no beginning/For me it was about singing/For them it's about who's crew they biggin’/All I do is speak the life I'm living."
Just when you think it can't get any better, ‘Imitators’ featuring the clever use of an classic 1980s sample in form of Axel F (yes really), which really shows the skill and craft of Mungo’s Hi Fi.
‘Nice It Up’ proves that the combination of Mungo’s Hi Fi and Charlie P is a winning formula. It's not all about telling you like it is, Charlie just wants us to dance. Raise up your drinks and party as the dub-based track makes it impossible not to dream of Jamaican beach parties.
As if to show off all aspect of his abilities, Charlie and Mungo’s penultimate track is ‘Life Is What You Make It’, a song about how Charlie lost his mum to cancer at 15. Hard subject matter for any artist, yet again his truth and honesty ensure credibility remains at the forefront, and keeps ears hanging on every carefully chosen word as he explains: “Me only speaking truth so please all gather round."
Having gathered around Charlie P, thanks is due to Mungo’s Hi Fi for providing the platform to hear this wonderful album, and now we can't wait for the next chapter in this young man’s career.