With production by long-time Roots Manuva collaborator Wayne ‘Lotek’ Bennett and a group of dedicated musicians in the wings, “Mixed Blessings” manages to have a unified feel while ranging across styles and genres from bumping hip hop (“Ram Dancehall”), dancehall (“Diatribe”), soca, “ragga-disco” (“Move Ya Ting”), cinematic meditation (“Time Has Come”), classical bounce (“Showdown”) and roots reggae (“Sticks & Stones”). Throw in the voices and the mix becomes heady. Lotek himself offers his lyrics in a gravelly growl, and Aurelius and Wayne Paul deliver the contrasts to make the record fly. Aurelius’ voice is deep, dark and warm, not dissimilar to a (very) British Charlie 2na. Wayne Paul adds the soul, his world-weary, uplifting roots-style singing the magic ingredient in the cooking pot. Each of them have thbeir moments to shine individually, but once again it is the blend of the three that is the real blessing.
Throw in guests including Roots Manuva, Sandra Melody and former group member Earl J and the whole represents a mighty step forward from their critically-acclaimed mini album of 2003. Lotek HiFi are ready to bestow blessings and be blessed. Believe.