Smith and Mighty
Big World, Small World
This is definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the new year. Smith and Mighty (AKA Rob Smith, Ray Mighty, and Peter D. Rose) are rooted deeply in Bristol, England – home to counterparts Tricky, Massive Attack, Portishead, and Roni Size. They have been described by Billboard magazine as “the missing link between Bob Marley, Soul II Soul, and Lauryn Hill”. Their sound is a mish-mash of reggae, soul, house, hip-hop, drum ‘n bass, and lots of deep, heavy, soul pounding dub.
Every track on Big World, Small World features a vocalist, and (surprise!) the lyrics actually mean something, and it’s more than pleasurable to listen to. “Move You Run” is a deep, ark, dub experience with the incredible voice of Tammy Payne coming through perfectly, while Rudy Lee sets off the smooth drum-n-bass of “No Justice” in a chilled ragga style. “That Woman” features a dirty, basement style downtempo break, and Tammy Payne’s voice once again grabbing your heart out of your chest, while “Small World” is a house track featuring the sultry, seductive voice of Alice Perera. “Seeds” is probably the best track on this album, though – a mellow dubbed out beat, beautiful acoustic guitar samples, and British MC Kelz proclaiming a positive message of Anti-Violence equals true Bristol brilliance.
The holistic sound of this album is done so well, and with such precision, that nothing is left to be desired. Big World, Small World belongs right up alongside (if not standing above) the other Bristol greats. An instant classic that actually has something to say.