Swamp Thing : Cherry Mongoose

Reviewed by David Taylor 

Label : Urbnet Records

Never wanting to sleep on the Canadian scene I wanted to check out the latest offering from Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing are a trio of emcees (Timbuktu, Chokeules and Saviion) with beats provided by Timbuktu and Siviion and cuts provided by DJ Irate.

This is the 8th album from the Toronto based crew and marks the 8th release on Halloween.

The album has a cinematic, vibe heavy feel akin to Madvillainy and this, along with the samples from films keeping the narrative together and the fact that this is a three-man crew makes me draw comparisons to Czarface too.

Opening track ‘Next Planet’ opens up with some ethereal vibes with a nice film sample before superb cuts enter the mix ahead of the beat. Each verse ticks along nicely to a strong kick snare pattern before making way to a wicked scratched chorus. There is a really nice use of space in the tune with some punch out sections where the music drops out to let the music breath.

‘Just Drive’ works around an expertly chopped up loop comprising of a funky bass line and some electro-esque keys. DJ Irate scatters more cuts to give the sound that instantly recognisable blueprint; very nice.

‘Beast Moves’ steps up the intensity and dials the vibe up with some super atmospheric backing sounds sitting behind a heavy beat. An ‘it’s alive’ sample scratched over the beat works very well as do the sound effects giving it real texture. Nilla has a guest verse on this track which as is to be expected, is delivered with flawless technique.

‘Baby Seal’ begins with another well-chosen film sample and some cleverly manipulated excerpts from Wu Tang and the Beastie Boys. Yet another head nod inducing beat ticks along to some smooth keys which allow each emcee to flow nicely.

The whole tempo and feel switches up with ‘Big Smoak’ a slow and heavy beat laden with faster paced jazz samples, the saxophone excerpts give the track a nice smokey feel while each emcee spits about wild nights out rocking stages leaving memories in the bottom of a shot glass. The production on this track is something special with some real intricate loops and sounds weaved in and out of the beat.

I like the cinematic feel to the L.P, the seaside sounds on ‘Sail Away’ and the aforementioned film speech samples give it good depth. The cuts are superb and ‘Sail Away’ features some really creative use of the fader on a nice vocal sample which is dope.

‘Lightning’ rocks a beat taken straight from the early 90’s with a super vibey female vocal which is chopped up and sneaked in and out of the beat to add a further percussive element to the track. This is a standout track for me, and the classic chopped up replaying of the beat and the samples is just irresistible. More signature cuts from DJ Irate are thrown in for good measure before the track breaks down into a jazz tinged interlude.

‘Sunset’ is a psychedelic affair which floats along to a trippy, off kilter keys loop and a simple stepping beat. Each emcee navigates the beat with measured delivery telling drug induced tales of visions and illusions that paint the perfect picture on the canvas of the sparse beat. Drawing to a close on more deft cuts from DJ Irate this makes a strong track.

Final track ‘Monster Island’ opens up with some atmospheric sounds and speech to set the scene before some tribal style timpani type drums build the mood ahead of the signature head nod beat breaking through alongside some subtle strings. Some dope cuts on a Beasties vocal are scattered over the hook which sits nicely in-between the smooth delivery of the verses.

Overall ‘Cherry Mongoose’ is a very tidy and well put together affair that will leave you licking your lips if you like your beats boom bap and plenty of cuts peppered over some well-chosen samples. The three emcees tag team the flow very well indeed and are matched perfectly to each other. Another strong release from the Canadian contingent; go peep the previous 7 releases for more of the same.