Many see this as Scritti Politti's best record - and I'm one of them. Before discovering hip-hop Green was obsessed with the idea of writing Classics, and his formidable gifts allowed him to play around with different styles; what he brought was something totally new in his barrage of beat-poetry lyrics, often crammed into too small a space, but silkily and sweetly curled into place - this record takes his breathy vocal style from Cupid & Psyche and teams it with something more earthy, and to my mind more robust.
The songs are not easy to know straight away. You have to spend time with them. Often it's 5 or 6 listens and then something starts nagging at you.
"Asylums in Jerusalem" opens with a loping soul/reggae feel, hint of Stevie Wonder clavinet grooving. It sets the tone structurally, for there is no chorus, just an extended circular journey around on itself. "With his hammer and his popsicle, they put him in a hospital for good". An agile, shifting melody, but strangely hummable.
"Jacques Derrida" has a rushing, strumming Bob Dylan feel, "Faithless" goes gospel soul, and the infectious "Rock a Bye Blue" a loosely swinging, jazz ballad - no shortage of styles to try on.
For me there are two immortal moments. "Sex" is the first. Top driving funk, Green gets randy, a backing singer starts coo-ing for mercy, and a naughty bassline ranges around like wandering hands.
The second is the incredible "Gettin Havin and Holdin", just a beautiful lullaby, classic sentiments ("When a man loves a woman, he is happy"), and Green for once putting down his Penguin Nietsche to sound like he really means it.
This record has such a distinctive feel that ultimately you'll either love it or hate it. Give it ten listens minimum before you decide!