Ninja Tune - 2002 - 63 mins
Every Scruff fan remembers tearing the shrink-wrap from 'Keep It Unreal' and hearing it for the first time. Nothing short of a masterpiece, even Ms Ciccone-Ritchie claims to love that 'weird little album'. So it must seem like an agonizing eternity since 'Get A Move' and 'Jus' made you glad Andy Carthy was born and decided to make music. After three long years, its eagerly waited sibling is here, bouncing around, making lots of noise and demanding attention.
As successors go, this is a remarkable offering that swims through more genres than you can shake your booty at. Snappy opener 'Here We Go' boasts a horn loop that's straight outta Motown and doesn't prepare you for the album's - and possibly one of Scruff's - best ever tunes, 'Sweetsmoke'. If the album had had a summer release, this track would have been a pan-European floor-filler with cheeky disco house tangoing with funk-fuelled keyboards.
The velvety vocals of Seaming To make two sublime appearances on 'Beyond' and the brilliantly titled 'Valley of the Sausages', the latter revealing Mr Scruff's recent penchant for Bollywood soundtracks. The top titles don't end there; there's the breakbeat jazz of 'Champion Nibble' and the far from geriatric 'Come on Grandad'.
For a chap who has recorded for over 25 labels, the Grand Central and Warp influences are audible on the strings/keyboard alliance of 'Alive' and moody electronics of 'Giffin' respectively. Scruff keeps the oceanic vibe real with the electro-funk pop of first single 'Shrimp'. Surprisingly we have to wait until track 11 for a dollop of hip-hop with the slick rap of Braintax on 'Vibrate'. Zen Cut's 'Ug' makes an encore before Captain Carthy ships out with classic Scruff in the form of 'Ahoy There'.
'Keep It Unreal' was hard to beat but for sheer scope, progression and musicality, 'Trouser Jazz' shades it. EVERYBODY will like something contained in these thirteen gems. This is - as a grand old lady of jazz once said - funkier than a mosquito's tweeter.
Tracklisting: Here We Go - Sweetsmoke - Beyond (featuring Seaming To) - Shrimp - Come Alive (featuring Nico) - Shelf Wobbler - Giffin - Valley of the Sausages (featuring Seaming To & Moss) - Champion Nibble - Come on Grandad - Vibrate (featuring Braintax) - Ug - Ahoy There!