Giving you a nice fusion of balls to the wall heavy metal and reggae, Ninjaspy are getting you pumped for their upcoming album release ‘Spüken‘ on April 14th and now they have another single for you to listen to!
Reggae outfit Talisman have been playing and recording music for the better half of four decades and are set to release yet another Studio Album on the 17th of March. This new album, by Talisman, Don’t Play with Fyah is set to be yet another full length release since the bands reformation in 2011 and through the single Relijan which dropped at the start of 2017 it seems like this album does have a lot of promise, not only through the main mixes but the dub versions that also sit on this album. But without further ado lets break down Don’t Play with Fyah.
Opening up this album is the lead single Relijan which not only starts up the album with promise but also gives a clear insight in to how well this band are continuing to grow despite the length of time they have been playing. The first thing that clearly jumps out during this track is the simple yet effective reggae stylings that are overtly evident in not only this track but the entirety of the album. With a tight composition the vocals of Dehvan Othieno, Dennison Joseph and Pete Fletcher are able to effortlessly lay on top of the track that carries itself along at a steady pace. Both aspects, vocals and instrumentation is what makes Relijan a great opener.
Coming next on this album are Talkin’ Revolution and She Look Like Reggae. The first of these two tracks Talkin’ Revolution is an interesting track, however is let down by it’s repetitiveness and almost excessive run time. Despite the track being well composed both in terms of instrumentation which although isn’t ground breaking or different fro the opener is still effective, and it’s well constructed vocal melody it still feels lack luster in comparison to the albums opener. Following this is She Look Like Reggae which is another song on this album that is well composed, and with a shorter run time feels more consistent and doesn’t let itself down with any form of repetitiveness that can become quite laboring to listen to. Overall this track is a great listen simply down to it’s vocal performance as the slow yet powerful vocals truly add an extra layer to this track.
This is then followed up by the albums title track Don’t Play With Fyah, which is simply just a fun track and is possibly the strongest track on the entire release. When this track first starts you can’t help but bop along to the strong instrumentation that is different in it’s make up to the track that proceed it and truly being the mid point of this album truly gives a lot of promise for what is on the latter half of this record. Again like in many of the tracks on Don’t Play With Fyah the harmonies that come from the vocalists in Talisman is something special with a very simplistic harmony set that works perfectly.
This brings the album past it’s midpoint as we hit another set of two tracks which come in the form of Hear No Evil and Racism Never Sleep. The former of these two track Hear No Evil is unfortunately the weakest track on this release and that fact is only exaggerated coming after Don’t Play With Fyah, as it is in this the vocals on the track are the weakest they are on the entire album. However the instrumentation on Hear No Evil is actually quite well orchestrated still in terms of how it is put together and how well the different parts of the album come together. The latter of these two tracks, Racism Never Sleep is simple yet effective, with some great lyricism on a hard hitting issue the song almost has a life of it’s own in that context and this together with the simplistic instrumental makeup makes it a track which can in a sense pack a punch.
Directly after this comes the album’s final song Wheel and Come Again, before we hit the dubs of each track, knowing this it does mean the album unfortunately feels short lived, despite there being 7 more song which are effectively slight reworkings of what has come prior. This track is a great final of the initial seven songs that lay on this record, as not only through the faster beat that powers this track along there is this well orchestrated instrumentation the song possesses similarly to Don’t Play With Fyah which is inherently fun to listen to. This alongside the vocal performance that sits on this track make it an excellent closer.
Finally we reach the dubs of the 7 tracks which make up Talisman’s upcoming record. After a few changes in name to add the word ‘dub’ to each title the tracks soon show their apparent changes. With the loss of vocals on some track and changes to mixing and the occasional extra instrument the tracks do become a great listen for a few spins but after that they all seem to blend together and it is only if you specifically select one of the tracks that the merit of it is clear. Overall these tracks are interesting to listen to but aren’t necessarily anything special and don’t necessarily add anything new to the tracks that the original tracks already had. Apart from the fact that certain tracks that appeared lack luster or weaker during the main albums track listing are given a second life in these dub mixes and add an extra level of enjoyment to them.
Overall this new Talisman album is a great listen for any fans of reggae and through some well crafted instrumentation and beautifully crafted vocal performances it is an album that has many highlights however, there is one draw back to this album that weakens it as a whole and that is the run time of some of the tracks, after a short while the tracks seem to become repetitive in themselves and in a sense become stale. Yet that still doesn’t draw away from the fact that Don’t Play With Fyah does have highlights all over it in both terms of instrumentation and vocals and is definitely worth checking out when it drops in March.
A reggae Unplugged album? Yes, really. Birmingham legends of the genre UB40 have made collection of their much-loved hits from throughout the years in a stripped-back style and while it words in part, a lot of it seems to wreck classics…
Vocally, the styling is very similar to the recordings from the accompanying Greatest Hits album. By the nature of the reinventions however, the lyrics and melodies stand out a lot more. The words in classics like Red Red Wine and Kingston Town are often fairly well disguised with instruments and singing tone, but with a lot less going on around the voice it is a lot simpler to hear.
The ability to understand vocals brings out the more emotional undertones in some of the tracks and the full meaning beneath the feel-good, bouncy instruments of the tracks. Red Red Wine (originally by Neil Diamond) holds the lyrics “Red red wine, can’t get you off my mind” which could relate to alcoholism or using alcohol as a coping method and when stripped back to basics the meaning is restored. Others like Rat In Mi Kitchen cannot be made any more rational or emotional though – it’s still got the zany lyrics the band have been known for which can never be taken away by an Unplugged reworking of the songs.
On the flipside though, when a lot of artists do Unplugged editions, they retain energy and feel of the original tracks when re-exploring. UB40 however have not succeeded with this at all. The “stripped back” nature of the recordings is too different from the original songs that gained them a lot of traction through the years and it seems to remove from a lot of the pieces what the fans loved about the originals: fun. A prime example of this is Baby Come Back with Pato Benton where there is a build-up to open it that seems to be taken from a far more energetic track which leads to an anticlimax when the music actually comes in.
The instrumentation throughout is solid though – minimalistic yet well-performed. On some tracks, steel pans are the shining feature as they play around the guitars and piano and in others it’s the retained reggae rhythm that remains in a few tracks past the best attempts to strip the tracks back.
Overall, a nice idea but it does sound very empty for a large portion of the release. A few of the classics have come out well, but the sadly the vast majority of the tracks have lost their energy. On the upside though, the record does come with the Greatest Hits CD which is a fantastic collection so still worth a buy, if for no other reason than that!
After a career reaching three number one singles and 70 million record sales, UK reggae pioneers UB40 are set to release their first Unplugged album on November 18th on Universal. The record will feature a collection of their hits reimagined and re-recorded by Ali, Astro and Mickey to provide a completely new experience within their sound.
The album will hold sixteen tracks on the Unplugged disc including Kingston Town, Red Red Wine andRat In Mi Kitchen and will come with a copy of their Greatest Hits album, perfect for bringing out the glory of the UB40‘s original tracks or listening to the intriguing new takes on the songs themselves.
Included within the new versions too are two guest vocal slots. The first comes in Baby Come Back which features Pato Banton, the original guest vocalist on the 1994 chart-topping recording. The second is from Ali’s daughter Kaya Campbell on I Got You Babe, the original of which featured Chrissie Hynde in the same spot.
The full Unplugged disc tracklist looks like this:
1. Kingston Town
2. Red Red Wine
3. Many Rivers To Cross
4. Baby Come Back (feat. Pato Banton)
5. (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You
6. Purple Rain
7. I Got You Babe (feat. Kaya Campbell)
8. One In Ten
9. Homely Girl
10. Please Don’t Make Me Cry
11. Food For Thought
12. Cherry Oh Baby
13. Rat In Mi Kitchen
15. You Could Meet Somebody
16. That’s Supposed To Hur
The first track released from the record is Many Rivers To Cross (Unplugged):
For two nights in London back in 1975, Bob Marley & The Wailers were at one of their many peaks in performance. Now, the Marley family and UMe are going to be reissuing these live shows onto a 3LP set! Songs included in these sets are ‘I Shot The Sheriff‘ as well as tracks like ‘Get Up Stand Up‘ for both nights. The record will be out on December 16th of this year, and you can check out the full tracklist below!
Live at The Lyceum, London, July 17, 1975
1 TRENCHTOWN ROCK 5.10 +
2 BURNING AND LOOTING 5.09 +
3 THEM BELLY FULL (BUT WE HUNGRY) 4.35 +
4 REBEL MUSIC (3 O’CLOCK ROADBLOCK) 5.25 +
1 STIR IT UP 5.14 +
2 NO WOMAN, NO CRY 7.37 +
3 NATTY DREAD 5.27 +
4 KINKY REGGAE 7.55 +
1 I SHOT THE SHERIFF 5.15 +
2 GET UP STAND UP 10.18 +
Live at The Lyceum, London, July 18, 1975
1 TRENCHTOWN ROCK 4.23
2 SLAVE DRIVER 4.02 +
3 BURNING AND LOOTING 4.56
4 THEM BELLY FULL (BUT WE HUNGRY) 3.53
5 REBEL MUSIC (3 O’CLOCK ROADBLOCK) 5.16 +
1 NO WOMAN, NO CRY 7.06
2 KINKY REGGAE 6.42
3 NATTY DREAD 4.33 +
4 STIR IT UP 4.43 +
1 LIVELY UP YOURSELF 7.49 ++
2 I SHOT THE SHERIFF 7.08
3 GET UP STAND UP 10.17 ++
+ previously unreleased performance
++ previously unreleased full length version
The general public strolling down Arundel Gate this evening look on as a swarm of old and young alike queue to get into Sheffield’s 02 Academy. Its quite the turnout for the Ska-Punk legends, but at Ten English pounds for a line up as varied and brimming with dancability as this, you’d be a fool to be a rock fan in Sheffield tonight and not be in attendance.
Mariachi El Bronx, for those unaware, is the alter ego of LA punk n’ rollers The Bronx. An eight-piece Mariachi band, they are the most fun anyone could have at a rock show, without actually watching a rock band. Frontman Matt Caughthran embraces his role as band leader with a sly wink, encouraging the audience to dance along to would- be-classics Revolution Girls and 48 Roses with all the charm of a genuine Mexican troubadour.As odd as Mariachi El Bronx seem at first glance on any bill, they certainly capture the hearts of the crowd here, and with gloriously celebratory numbers like High Tide, it’s no surprise at all. [8/10]
Londoner’s The Skints are a fine choice for tonight’s show, balancing out the cultural tones on offer with their own brand of soulful reggae. Live, the band lock into a solid groove that the audience finds hard to resist. Heads nod and feet tap to the addictive hooks of Mindless, which showcase the vocal duo of drummer Jamie Kyriakides and multi instrumentalist Marcia Richards. Guitarist Joshua Rudge commands the stage with cocky energy, adding grime overtones to the funky likes of Rat-a-tat. With the Bob Marley vibes of Forest For The Trees being a mellow highlight, The Skints are a true UK treasure and continue to bring it live. [8/10]
Tonight’s main event, all the way from Gainesville, Florida are veteran Ska-Punkers Less Than Jake and judging by the sea of early 00’s band tees on display, they are the main attraction. They hit the stage and launch into a riotous Last One Out Of Liberty City. The crowd is already surging back and forth before the two-tone ska of Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts rockets past in less than two minutes. If you’ve ever attended a Less Than Jake show, you will of course be familiar with their particular brand of sophomoric humor, and tonight is no different, vocalists Chris DeMakes and Roger Lima hurling insults at each other much to the audiences delight. With an ever-growing back catalog to draw on, the band plow through oldies and newies alike, the brass section of Buddy Schaub and J.R showcasing their knack for massive hooks on the frantic Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chin and newer number Good Enough.
Its hard deny the infectious atmosphere of a Less Than Jake show and the Steel City crowd are no exception. They embrace every ounce of the band’s goofball antics, from toilet-roll launching guns to inviting a topless, middle-aged gentleman named ‘John’ onstage for Anthem classic The Ghost Of Me & You. Not ones to disappoint their fans, the band finish up with a manic version of All My Best Friends Are Metalheads, which judging by the audience participation, will lead to some sore throats in the morning. It seems these days, many bands are cashing in revivals and one-off comebacks. Less Than Jake need not worry about such things however, as long as they keep putting on shows as entertaining as tonight’s. [9/10]