Fall On Deep
Old John Brown
John Brown’s Body is a mainstay of the U.S. reggae scene for good reason. Its so-called “future roots” fusion of traditional roots-reggae grooves, modern dub sounds, socially conscious lyrics, and sharp horn charts connects with even the most hard-to-please reggae fans. (Even established Jamaican musicians give the band props.) Its eighth studio album (and first since 2008’s Amplify), Kings and Queens finds the band further refining this sound and tying it together as a singular whole. Thus, tunes like the hard-hitting “Step Inside,” the urgent reggae-with-a-message of “Empty Hands,” the slow epic grooves of “Deep Summer,” and the playful electronic dance of “Searchlight” all sit comfortably together. Also notable is the continuing development of lead singer and songwriter Elliot Martin, whose delivery can stand up to the top-notch backing this eight-piece band gives him. Those seeking Jamaican-style music that lives in the here and now could do much worse.