Sexy. Groovy. Masterfully produced. Swindle is back and he has brought his friends with him.
Release Date: 29th October 2021
Formats: Digital / Vinyl
The New World is the latest outing by South London-based producer and composer Swindle. With the help of some of the UK’s brightest singers, rappers and songwriters, Swindle artfully combines funk, jazz, and soul elements to make an incredible album. While at times it can be bold and experimental, it contains fewer of the drum n’ bass influences and dubstep rhythms of some of Swindle’s earlier releases. Overall, it comes across as a very measured and well-paced album, while still managing to achieve the diversity of the sounds and talent that Swindle has become known for including in his previous releases.
The beauty of The New World is that it keeps you guessing as to what genre it is and indeed, questioning whether sticking within the lines of genre really matters in the first place? Make no mistake, this is no cheap ‘jack of all trades’ musical buffet. It’s very evident how much of a scholar of the classics Swindle is, as he faithfully nails the intricacies of different genres to a tee. His respect for the forefathers of funk shines through the envelope filter in the bass, while you can hear the authenticity in the off-beat rhythms of the reggae breakdown on What More (feat. Greentea Peng). This is all overlaid with an excellent selection of singers and rappers who get across their own styles without dominating.
Opening track, Sunday Best (feat. Kojey Radical, Joel Culpepper & Knucks) sets the tone with its punchy, funky bass, flanged chords and swaggy vocals. This is followed by the sexy, soulful Second Guess (feat. Maverick Sabre), driven by upbeat piano chords, and trademark buttery singing from the Irish singer-songwriter.
One of Swindle’s virtues is the way he gives a voice to excellent upcoming talent, while also managing to get people to sit up with more established names (in this album’s case, Maverick Sabre, Akala and Ghetts). Although he has his long-term collaborators, Swindle’s openness to new partnerships is refreshing- on The New World, the performance of Greentea Peng and JNR Williams really stand out.
Perhaps the standout track of The New World is Blow Ya Trumpet. The beat is unlike anything I’ve ever heard- the horns take on a life of their own and kick into the highest gear possible. Four MCs (Knucks, Ghetts, Akala & Kojey Radical) take turns showcasing their own unique styles, complete with their own distinct versions of the beat, in what feels like a very listenable rap-battle.
At times, the album is very heartfelt. This is unsurprising given that Swindle himself has described the album as a healing process written in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The emotion is particularly apparent in the short but sweet Lesson to My Seed (feat. Kojey Radical & Joel Culpepper), the beautiful How I’ve Been (feat. Joy Crookes, JNR Williams, Loyle Carner & Kojey Radical) and No Black No Irish (feat. Maverick Sabre and Joel Culpepper), which manages to contrast such a cheerful beat with some incredibly sad and powerful lyrics about race. This tone is achieved with the help of the excellently deployed and ever-present horn and string sections.
Ultimately, The New World has something for everyone and songs for all moods- it has already cheered me up on more than one occasion. The diversity of the talent on the album is amazing, yet it’s Swindle’s vision that makes this album feel genre-defying yet focused, energetic yet chilled. Absolutely recommended!
Watch the official video for Blow Ya Trumpet – the album’s first single – here: