Think reggae and your mind will likely drift towards Bob Marley; the ubiquitous Jamaican musical icon. But Robert Nestor Marley is not the Caribbean island's only reggae export. Drew Tewsbury reviews a collection of dub plate offerings from another Jamaican reggae legend, Gregory Isaacs plus new music from Justice.
A new anthology of Gregory Issacs works showcases the singer's sweet and swaggering vocal style. The two disc anthology called the ruer traces the reggae star's career from the 1970's to the 1990's. We hear the evolution of Isaacs' music from his early career, when reggae took much influence from soul music and R&B.
We also get a taste of his works throughout the 1980's where drum machines laid down the backing beat. But those early songs with a squealing Hammond organ, popping beats, and Isaac's melancholy voice, are all gems. Isaacs can make heartbreak sound good.
Isaacs died in South London last year after a battle with lung cancer. He had fought a lifetime of addiction and constant run-ins with the law too. But Isaac will be remembered for his integral role in shaping the spirit of reggae. This anthology is a eulogy for Isaacs, keeping one of Jamaica's greatest voices alive.
Justice's Audio, Video, Disco
Now, what would you get if you mixed 70's disco, 80's hair metal and 90's electro? If you said nausea and/or heart failure, you'd typically be correct. But somehow the French duo Justice, make it work.
On their new album, "Audio, Video, Disco" the group has turned up their amps to make everyday like a heavy metal parking lot. Despite all of their sartorial nightmares, hair metal bands delivered the goods. And on the new justice album, they tap into these hidden rhythms. With harmonizing guitars, fist pumping beats, and electro anthems, Justice has made the audio equivalent to Jolt Cola. Their fizzy guitars sound like Queen's axeman Brian May or maybe even AC/DC.
Of course, this music isn't made to be taken too seriously. After all, Justice are trouble makers. They crashed into the music world like a Roswell UFO in 2007. They seemed to come out of nowhere and changed the sound of dance parties everywhere, with their debut. Their song DANCE was a staple for DJs and mixtapes. Now four years later, they've returned with a sound that's made for headbanging on the dance floor, or in your duplex. Just make sure not to spill your Pabst Blue Ribbon.