Ninja Tune ZENCDS178 / ZEN12178: 17th April 2006
1. True Skool
"You just pump your fist and stamp your footsy, if you can't dance just wiggle your tootsie"
2. True Skool (Sway Mix)
"It's high time, people recognised it's my time, 'cause when I rhyme, I reckon I'm a bit like Einstein"
3. True Skool (Switch Mix)
"Whom so ever don't know, best get to know, were too cool, keeping them cuts so cold, it's True Skool."
4. True Skool (Qemists Mix)
"All that we need is to plant the good seed, something to live for, something to believe"
5. True Skool (Spank Rock BBC Soundsystem Mix)
"Just when you thought we could get no ruder, out the way bitch, the be more intruders, Spank Rock, Coldcut and the Roots Manuva"
When I listen to this I get images of Morris dancers, Line dancers, Bollywood dancers or just a room full of people dancing together. It's got a Bollywood sound like 'Romeo' by Basement Jaxx (Except 'Romeo' was one of the worst records ever made and this is one of the best). Roots Manuva's words are the most lyrically dense thing I've read since Public Enemy. It's like he's eaten a dictionary. He uses application, citation, iration, gyration and inclination all in one totally coherent breath. It's absolute genius. It's basically about him and Coldcut being 'True Skool' and "Far from the regular nothing you're used to". It's represented by a Radio Edit, Album Version, Instrumental and an Acapella.
The 'Sway Mix' features new vocals by Sway in addition to Roots Manuva's originals. It sounds like all the guys in the Thriller video clapping along to some old horror movie music. Sway is usually pictured with a facemask. But from this I'm picturing him with a smoking jacket and cigarette holder like a rap Noel Coward. When he says "Highlight" he pronounces it "Hah-light".
The 'Switch Mix' speeds things up considerably. Most remixes build and release the tension with depressing predictability. But this goes from fast to slow, loud to quite with no warning whatsoever. It's like at least eight different remixes across the course of six fantastic minutes.
The 'Qemists Mix' is a high-energy Drum 'n' Bass mix. It'd be great to dance to but it's got no finesse. This is probably the least essential mix on here.
The 'Spank Rock BBC Soundsystem Mix' retains the spirit of the original version but with a new Beastie Boys style vocal. They partially re-write the chorus and add a couple of short new verses. I love the way he says "POP-ular fluff", it bursts right out of his mouth.
Check out MusicLikeDirt for an excellent live review, photos and videos from when I saw them in London.