Friday, 28 August 2009

Tarrus Riley - Contagious

What is with reggae artists having to see their face on the front of sleeve? Usually in some kind of righteous pose with fingers glued together, or sitting on a throne? I personally think it's 50% vanity and 50% laziness on both the artist and the record label's part. I mean, how tedious and predictable.

Tedious and predictable are words that can be used to describe most of the content of `Contagious' . If I hear another female backing singer going "ooh ooh" I won't be responsible for my actions. Is it always the same female singers? Do they keep them in the studio in a cupboard along with the triangles and the tambourines? In fact a lot of these songs would sound by far, so much better without any backing singer.

OK, so maybe I am exaggerating a bit. `Stop Watch' is a killer roots tune, but that's the best it gets. `Young Heart' rides a vintage Treasure Isle rhythm and is more than acceptable, the cover of MJ's `Human Nature' is curiously satisfying. A handful of other tunes are OK, but just go through the motions, including combinations with Vybes Kartel, Demarco and Duane Stephenson. But it's the Etana tune with Tarrus `Let Peace Reign' that had me reaching for the sick bucket. Just think of `We Are The World' meets and aforementioned Michael Jackson's `Heal The World'. Nice sentiments but please, no.

Maybe I am just looking for something within the current reggae scene that isn't there, like something to actually get excited about. But it sll seems to have gone a bit static and stale and anything but "Contagious".

Also, 18 tracks is way too much. I know record labels have to make a product worth buying and more appealing to the consumer, but I miss the days of 10 track albums weighing in at under 45 minutes.

Here is some audio from the album out now on VP Records.


  1. Overrated by far IMHO. Such a lack of real talent in reggae these days. Bland fare, the musical equivalent of eating at Toby's Carvery.

  2. That's a bit extreme. More Harvester, I would say.