Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012
Kings Bell (I Grade Records)
Although reggae fanned out from Jamaica decades ago, many performers from elsewhere have remained true to the Rastafarian faith that grounded the music as well as its easy, steady-on rhythm. Case in point: one of the most prolific reggae groups from outside Jamaica, Midnite, hailing from St. Croix in the American Virgin Islands. On Kings Bell, Midnite worked with Jamaican producer Andrew “Bassie” Campbell on a deep roots session with occasional nods to a poppier sound. The lyrics forcefully, and with tongue-twisting wordplay, catalog the abuses of a fallen world and extol a vision of Ras Tafari as the pole star in the darkness. You'd never guess Midnite come from U.S. territory without reading their biography.