"Ninja Tuna" - a bollocking big fish that can sneak past armed guards dressed in black p.j.s before unleashing a deadly attack using only the tops the of the tin cans which were meant to entomb him.
The Eric Morecambe of contemporary dance music (by which we mean he's a genius, not that he wears glasses) returns to the long-playing record fray with his first studio album since the scrumptious Trouser Jazz and he's sounding in finer fettle than ever. Ninja Tuna is an album that mixes up all of Andy Carthy's favorite influences and turns them into a funny, unique, amiable and distinctively British sound which will start parties, destroy dancefloors and soundtrack your spring cleaning so successfully you'll find yourself getting deep into that dusting.
From the soul-jazz of "Music Takes Me Up" (featuring the golden lungs of Alice Russell), through the cartoonish tail-swishing of "Donkey Ride," on into the monstrous bass parps of "Whiplash," past a superb cameo from Roots Manuva ("Nice Up The Function"), and across the bit where the bass comes back and is Stronger And More Dangerous Than Ever ("Bang The Floor" with Danny Breaks), this is an album which just keeps on growing on you. Every tune has been roadtested at Scruff's epic club nights and it shows on the disco-builder "Get On Down," the muddy funkster "Hold On" (featuring Andreya Triana), the utterly massive "Give Up To Get" and a latino finale held together by "Kalimba" and the endearingly ramshackle "Stockport Carnival."
Also, as a special treat for this side of the pond, there is a second disc of "bonus bait" containing 10 more Scruffy delights, a collection of all the b-sides and outtakes from the Ninja Tuna sessions.
Mr Scruff's combination of taking his music very seriously while managing not to take himself too seriously has made him unique in British dance and has helped him forge a sound and philosophy in which drinking tea holds mythological status and where it's always the music which gets you high. Ninja Tuna is his finest work to date, moving with all the power and grace of a fifty ton whale deep below the ocean, its cavernous belly packed with happy, partying potato people. Cod, it's good.
Music Takes Me Up feat. Alice Russell
Donkey Ride feat. Quantic
Get On Down