Melding reggae, dub, jazz and African rhythms Soothsayers third album manages the not inconsiderable feat of bring supremely laid-back and yet vivacious . The mix of veteran Jamaica reggae musicians and U.K. based performers probably accounts for this disparity but mostly those cavernous dub bass arrangements over which fizzing horns triumph do it for me.
The music's refreshing and enjoyable multi-vibe appeal is also aided by the use of multifarious vocalists. Jonny Clarke( no relation ha ha !), Michael Prophet ,Mellow Baku ,Linvall Thomson, Michie One and Bob Skeng all lay down differing vocals over some terrific songs .coursing out of the pulsating multi-cultural, south London milieu , centred around Brixton, which is Soothsayers' stomping ground.
The traditional reggae beats of "Your Love" are complimented by creamy backing vocals and raspy bursts of brass. "Hold On " is a summery burst of vibrant groovy pop. "Irie" is more free-form with some ambidextrous MC-ing from Michie One. Opening track "Music" reveals guest keyboardist Zoe Rahman, sister of Soothsayers' co-leader, reed player Idris Rahman, and an acoustic jazz pianist of substance, as an deeply funky player. She plays in similar vein on "River Effra," Soothsayers' melodious but muscular tribute to ska and the Skatalites. "Tears Of Sorrow " is a seriously downbeat lament on the consequences of gun culture but still has a cracking tune while "We Must Return To Dub" does exactly that, as indeed does last track the sinuous "Tears In Dub".
The lugubrious beats, balmy horns and proficient musicianship of Soothsayers all equate to a hugely enjoyable listening experience that is never so slick and cushy that it becomes blasé .This is music that will still thrill and delight the 100th time you listen to it and the likelihood is that 100 is the bare minimum listens you will give it. One more reason to buy it I would say.