The EP that Shannon-based rapper God Knows made with Clare producer MynameisjOhn and Limerick-based Graeme S was one of the best things I heard last year, so you can imagine my excitement about a full-length album, albeit sans Graeme S. We’ve already heard ‘Serious’, a BIG track that’s probably the standout of the 11 songs on Rusangano/Family. That’s it’s not the clear cut highlight is testament to the quality of the other 28 or so minutes. Brash brass and crashing cymbals strut in at the start, an air of confidence exuding from the speakers, with lyrics instantly touching on an “Irish music antidote” and Love/Hate, rhyming Ballygowan with keeping the show on. And then comes the impossibly uncool chorus: “She said give it to the lord sonny, my momma said give it to the lord sunny.” An eyebrow’s not raised in bemusement because feet can’t stand still. It’s an energy-sapping three minutes that seeps into the reggae strains of ‘Standard’. The press release says: “So, one day, a Zimbabwean Christian and an Irish pagan sit down with a pot of tea to discuss making an album. ‘Let’s change the game,’ they said. And so it began.” Rusangano/Family is rarely less than thrilling, whether it’s the sinister change in tone on ‘Raise the Bar’ or the heart-rending ‘Habbakuk’. The press release explains it well: “Exploring issues such as identity and belonging, the album delivers a hefty dose of honest double-edged lyricism over skewed soul samples, 808 beats and sliced-up breaks. Wearing their hiphop and electronic influences proudly on their sleeves, mynameisjOhn and God Knows aren’t an act willing to conform to the styles associated with their respective backgrounds. Instead of struggling with the idea of being different, they celebrate it. Sure the rules are only there to be broken.” So what are you waiting for? Go listen to the best album of 2014 so far and buy it here.