by Hobey Echlin
God bless Roni Size. Not because he cut off those damn dreads of his, but because the Reprazent producer finally got wise and found himself a frontwoman not a featured vocalist, not some sampled diva, but a real live fire-breathing frontwoman, around which to build his newest drum n bass project.
Vocalist Leonie Laws is one ass-whoopin momma, sounding more like a bar-band, in-your-face Patti Smith type than a chanteuse. No angelic moaner soaring half a beat behind the syncopated beats and booming bass drops, Laws is so in the goddamn pocket on the title track, shes singing along to the bassline through every wiggily twist while on "Anti-Everything," Size and co-producer DJ Die do such a good job of putting Laws vocals into an angry haze, the song sounds like Portishead with a hot poker up its ass, as frenzied and as cohesive.
To their credit, Die and Size dont just let Laws do all the work, but instead seem that much more determined to prove theyre still capable of making records for the UK dubplate mafia, while pushing jungle out of its sample-dependent climes by using live sounds and real players. "Late Morning" has live drum sounds (not, as the band name might suggest, breakbeats) and an electric guitar so live you can hear it hum, while the track as a whole is so organic it sounds like a jazz band jamming on some sideways rock shit more than the sampled-together, dark-core corner jungles painted itself into lately. And Laws, well, she may not be jungles Marianne Faithfull, but shes damn close and for d n b heads, shes more than enough, maybe better. On "Rancid" she gives a taste-of-tongue-to-a-9-volt tone: "The junk in your words dont show in your face/Ill wait for your face to break." Break the beat indeed.