On their latest LP Eternal Children the pioneering Jamaican group Equiknoxx try something a little different. Usually each new Equiknoxx drop features a selection from the group’s five-strong membership, but this time all of the quintet (Shanique Marie, Bobby Blackbird, Gavsborg, Kemikal and the excellently-named Time Cow) have got involved in making the LP. Their massed ranks produce another potent record of future-forward bashment and dancehall that is unafraid to incorporate influences from hip-hop, pop and balladry. Swing Ting affiliate Fox is among the guests.
Vinyl Double LP £18.99 EM09
2LP on Equiknoxx Music.
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- Eternal Children by Equiknoxx
Reviewing records at Norman Records is a lonely job. You’re whacked round a corner out of sight and out of mind. But sometimes the record you’re listening to is so good you need to tell someone. Three tracks into ‘Eternal Children’, the latest record from Jamaican dancehall collective Equiknoxx I was out of my chair, and back round the corner, telling my long suffering colleagues how good this album is. And now you have to listen to me talk about how good it is! It’s so good!
There’s always been this tension between Equiknoxx albums and the rest of their output. ‘Colón Man’ and ‘Bird Sound Power’ were brilliantly heady and sparse records, but in terms of energy level they were a million miles away from the Equiknoxx DJ sets where MC Shanique Marie would freestyle over Gorillaz edits. I’d always admired this double life they seemed to live, and finally it seems like they’ve brought the two together.
The tracks on ‘Eternal Children’ have the same attention to detail as their previous album. The production is utterly strange and impeccable. Just consider the moment where ‘The Corner’ transforms from heavy dancehall heater to what sounds like uh… Sunn O)))? Or the frenetic and chaotic backdrop to ‘Move Along’. But now they’ve applied some of that poppy know how to them. The album also features MCs Shanique Marie and Kemikal who inject bountiful energy into the productions. They have so much personality between them, which comes through in moments on the record where they break off a verse just laughing. It's impossible to imagine them not having fun while making this thing.
The sweetest track though, is ‘Manchester’, a love letter to the place they now consider their second home thanks to the brilliant Swing Ting crew. If hearing Marie rapping the songs hook, “went on a tram ina Manchester” doesn’t bring a smile to your face, I don’t know what to say. Maybe you shouldn't bother with this. But you should anyway, because it's great.
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