For Better Days
The Banyans
Khanti Records / Socadisc
CD / Digital Release
April 2, 2015

Track list
  1. One More Time
  2. Fearless
  3. Better Days
  4. Follow Your Light feat. Johnny Osbourne
  5. I Miss You
  6. What’s Going On feat. Maranto
  7. Like Before
  8. Wasting Time
  9. Mystic Joy - Part 1
  10. Mystic Joy - Part 2
  11. Judge I feat. Big Youth
  12. Spiritual Justice
  13. Everything Is Nice
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
In recent times France has proven to be fertile ground for Reggae music and thus it's not really surprising to see so many homegrown talent emerging on the scene. Anyone who has followed the Rototom's European Reggae Contest in the last years will have noticed that a staggering amount of aspiring French bands entered this contest. Also The Banyans from Toulouse participated in the 2013 edition of the European Reggae Contest and reached the French live final.

The Banyans, founded in 2008, have done a notable amount of shows in France, However, because their lyrics are in English they were also invited to do shows in several other countries in Europe including Belgium, Italy and Spain. In 2013 the band released their well received debut album entitled "Steppin’ Forward" in 2013. That album was clearly influenced by the godfathers of Jamaican Reggae roots (The Gladiators, Burning Spear, Bob Marley, etc) resonating not only with music lovers of this genre, but equally with those of Blues, Soul and Jazz. In 2014 The Banyans welcomed new musicians in their team, which enriched their compositions with new vocal harmonies and musical colors, both in studio and on stage.

And now there's the band's sophomore album, "For Better Days", out on the streets. This new album was recorded and mixed at the legendary studio Davout in Paris, famous for the high quality of its equipment, the skills of its engineers, and for the list of the international class artists who worked in this place. For the collaboration tunes featured on the album some of the members went to Jamaica to do recordings with veterans Johnny Osbourne and Big Youth plus versatile singer/songwriter and producer Maranto, the former lead vocalist of the C-Sharp band. Together with Maranto the Banyans recorded the great message tune "What Is Going On", one of the standout tracks of this album. Also the spiritual song "Follow Your Light" with Johnny Osbourne makes a truly serious impression, while "Judge I", done in combination with veteran deejay Big Youth, is a decent piece. Then the solo efforts... The Banyans deliver fresh original riddims and touch various themes in their songs. There's no real weak tune around, but in particular "Fearless", the title track "Better Days", "Spiritual Justice", the excellent "Wasting Time" and the beautiful "I Miss You" (not a love song!!) are worth hearing.

Don't expect a collection of tunes that blows you away, but one that is enjoyable to listen to from beginning to end.