Emerging from Bristol’s underground, Riddim Punks are a true distillation of their home town’s musical history. Often regarded as the UK’s capital for drum & bass, the individual elements brought together to make their sound are steeped in the musica lineage of the city – from Jamaican soundsystem heritage, to calypso, dub, dancehall, hip hop, dubstep and more obviously jungle and d&b. They follow in the footsteps of legendary artists such as Roni Size, DJ Krust, Smith & Mighty, The Wild Bunch and Mark Stewart and a time and place where sub-cultures clashed and ultimately infused to create a new hybrid, not only reflective of the UKs multicultural history, but wearing it with pride. Artists such as The Specials, Massive Attack and The Prodigy serve not only as a musical influence, but a political one also.
Having set out their agenda with the massive “Sell My Gun” – an illegal bootleg turned legit collaboration with one of JA’s biggest recent exports Chronixx, the Punks have been steadily building their arsenal along with headline bookings at festivals such as Bestival, Boomtown and Outlook. Their follow up single “Stranger In Town” touched on the subject of the Windrush scandal that shocked British politics and found support on radio from David Rodigan, DJ Target, Toddla T and Don Letts, alongside a heavy reggae reworking from Gentleman’s Dub Club. Following remixes for The Skints and Dub Pistols, the duo are now ready to unleash their debut album.
Featuring an international line up of guest vocalists, London’s Burning is part political statement, part hedonistic party starter – strong social and global issues backed by killer dancefloor kinetics. Opening the album, Bristol’s Rider Shafique delivers a deep spoken word intro, reminiscent of seminal dub poets Linton Kwesi Johnson and Mutabaruka, foretelling the chaos and upheaval the country currently finds itself in. Title track “London’s Burning” then sets the tone like a punch to the face with a devastating jump up bassline. Grime veteran P Money features on a new version of the club hit “Sell My Gun” with Chronixx, whilst fellow Bristolian dancehall queen Eva Lazarus packs a punch with “Heavy Sound System”. Canadian Juno-winning vocalist Exco Levi supplies his soulful vocals to the previous hit “Stranger In Town” and new track “Gideon Soldier”. Elsewhere we find UK soundsystem legends The Ragga Twins, Navigator, Cheshire Cat and Scorpio MC adding their trademark vocals to the intense beats, as well as Jamaican legend King Ali Baba and up-and-coming UK roots singer Shumba Youth. Punk ethics meet soundsystem dynamics.
London might be burning, but things are just getting warmed up for the Riddim Punks.
Get it on Bandcamp here.
Or Spotify here…