Andy Carthy’s fifth album as Mr. Scruff, Friendly Bacteria, is also his first since Bonus Bait came out in 2009. Carthy has stated a desire to strip things down and get “back to basics”, and Friendly Bacteria makes good on that promise. Chunky beats, quirky arrangements, and jazzy double bass and keyboards are still the hallmarks of the Mr. Scruff sound. Carthy keeps things eclectic, too, with flourishes of flamenco (standout “Feel Free”), R&B (“He Don’t”), and electro-funk (the title track and “Where Am I”). The nondescript mumblings of British neo-folkie Denis Jones feature on four mostly lackluster tracks, but Vanessa Freeman enhances the sultry, soulful “Come Find Me”. All in all Friendly Bacteria is agreeably left-of-center, but hardly outstanding.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article