Ever since finding speakers in a skip, Mungos Hi Fi have been pushing UK sound system culture from their home city of Glasgow. Repping Scotland to the fullest, naming themselves after the patron saint and founder of Glasgow, St Mungo, for example, they fuse reggae, dub and dance floor into an upbeat and bassy sound. Their third album Forward Ever, which was recently released on their own Scotch Bonnet Records, follows chart topping albums and they’ve become known as an absolutely formidable force in the world of bass. Their arena at Outlook festival was body warming just to step into and this album retains that live vibe by working off spontaneous snippets of live shows and compiling in the same order they would play them live.
The intro track, Scrubadub Style, sets the tone early with a sunshine sound featuring lively, cone shaking bass under the late Jamaican Reggae legend Sugar Minotts smooth vocals recorded shortly before his passing (RIP). From there the beats stay bass heavy but relatively laid back with occasional energy peaks such as the wobbling sounds of Gimme Gimme and the neck snapping, more synth sounding beats of Scream. MCs such as 80s legend Kenny Knots, Ranking Levi and Pacey carry the torch Minotts ignited high.
The range of MCs is something that really makes this album special, from the tight, sometimes tongue twisting, sometimess rolling flow of Charley P on Skidip, to the more soul influenced vocals of Soom T on Bad Bad Boy, which to my taste is incredible and trumps her more attitude infused sounds on Soundboy Police. I was also really feeling the hard hitting, dance floor flow and swagger of Mr Williams on Computer Age and Pupa Jim’s laid back, beach side shade dwelling vibes on Boat People. Leeds’ festival favourite Gentlemens Dub Club also bring an increased range of instruments to the final track High Grade, which switches it up for a final bang nicely with a much more hip hop influenced flow then the rest of the album and a bouncing beat.
Overall, this mammoth of a fifteen track album lives up to it’s hype, delivering from start to finish and perfectly invoking memories from the previous festival summer and excitement for the next sprinkle of UV rays that poke their way through all the shades of grey we see on our little island. It’s an album with variety, flow and class that I’d happily bump in non club situations from summer garden lazing through barbecue and pre drinks but also has the weight and presence to shake a dance floor.