Mr. Scruff, Keep It Unreal
The first and best album from this endearingly daft Mancunian DJ
Mr. Scruff is the nom de disque of the endearingly daft Mancunian Andy Carthy, who replaces hip-hop's gunplay, label whoring and brandy snifters with wordplay, ichthyology and a nice cuppa tea. Keep It Unreal was his first, and best, album for Ninja Tune, and while under most circumstances the reissue of a 10 year-old dance music album would be as unsightly as your dad in a pair of Cheap Monday jeans, Scruff's singular sensibility renders currency and prevailing trends irrelevant to the appreciation of his music. The album's highlight is undoubtedly "Get a Move On", a house reworking of Moondog's "Bird's Lament" that still delights even though it has long since been consigned to the Purgatory of car advert cliché. Scruff has never met a bad pun he doesn't like, and his goofball sense of humour raises its head on "Shanty Town", a collage of sea shanties and fishy non sequiturs set to a queasy bass line, and "Blackpool Roll", which sounds like Pete Rock playing the mighty Wurlitzer organ at a Blackpool workingman's club. Unfortunately, the bonus tracks — mostly unreleased tracks and b-sides — are fairly bland and genericize Scruff's sly winks, ribald guffaws and facility with the sampler.