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.