Album Review: Bootleg Rascal’s Anónimo (2018 LP) expertly blends genres to show off a band at the top of their game

Bootleg Rascal have done it again, releasing a phenomenal album, worth wasting away the hours relaxing too. Anónimo, their second LP, continues the band’s growth, keeping the signature sounds, covering a range of genres whilst also adding in some subtle new sounds to keep it as fresh as their vibes require. The ten song album covers everything that would have been expected from Bootleg, adding a couple of new things along the way. It’s the perfect listen for both longtime fans of the band, or casual listeners wanting to hear something new.

The band’s mid 2017 release, “With You” makes an early appearance on the album and while it has been out for a long while, it’s still a highlight of the record. The track constantly cuts in and out between the smooth reggae/funk backing sounds and the spoken verses, building a beautiful juxtaposition throughout the sound. “With You” also reminds the listener of what makes Bootleg Rascal such an intriguing band, with their constant mixing of genres, setting an early platform for the rest of the flow through the album.

The third track “Mercy” starts with a hilarious voice-over about recording the track, before breaking into some laidback group vocals. The track takes a heavy reggae influence, but the main vocals pull like some easy-going hip-hop. The two genres flow in and out of one another through the course of the recording, with the spoken rap taking over much of the verses, while the group-led “Mercy” hook leads into some upbeat vocals in a highly melodic chorus, held together by a funky walking bass line. The bridge is a bit of surprise, the music tracking away to silence, before soulesque vocals split the track open and drives it too the close.

Where others may complain about modern album’s being too long, or sounding too similar throughout, Bootleg Rascal’s newest release sidesteps this issue with ease. The sophomore album tracks through the recordings beautifully, spacing the heavier influences of reggae, soul or funk around each other. The album also offers an interesting twist, feeling as if it brings on new sounds and a heavier tone as album progresses. The switch feels as if it comes around “Butta Spark” and “Holy Ghost”. They hold a real sense of renewal, ensuring the album never gets old as one listens.

Bootleg Rascal complete their album on a heavier note, through “ To The Moon”, the track leading in with a bass kick reminiscent of house electro, while the building synths fit Carlos’ flowing rap and laid back vocals. Bringing Ivan Ooze as a feature artist gives the track a solid touch of Ooze’s signature firey rap, working its way through the back end verses. Helping bring the album to a satisfying conclusion, the track is also the perfect example of what Bootleg Rascal have strived for on Anónimo; the perfect combination of a multitude of sounds which can easily be traced back to a diverse range of genres and influences.

The album for a road trip or a chill out session in the afternoon – or just, anytime really – Anónimo is one of the best releases of the year. 

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Anónimo is out now.

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