Album review
Heading For The Door
Back To Base featuring Benjamin Zephaniah
MP Records
27 - 12 - 2000

Tracking list

  1. One Day featuring Benjamin Zephaniah
  2. Nu Blue Suede Shoes featuring Benjamin Zephaniah
  3. We Are Tribes
  4. The President Is Dead Again featuring Benjamin Zephaniah
  5. Crown Yourself King
  6. Albany St
  7. Heading For The Door
  8. Dancing Tribes featuring Benjamin Zephaniah
  9. Play With Fire
  10. Outro
  11. Uh Huh
  12. Lose Control
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

The core of Back To Base consists of Lawrence Ray (bass and programming) and Alan Rawe (acoustic drums and percussion). This Hull-based outfit delivers its second album "Heading For The Door", which isn't exactly an album that can be categorized as reggae, dancehall or dub, being the usual musical styles featured in our review pages. However the music on this album incorporates some strong reggae related links, which makes it a very interesting and enjoyable effort for every reggae fan as well as music lover. First of all "Heading For The Door" features a guest appearance of one of UK's finest dub poets, Benjamin Zephaniah, who is known for his incisive and often politically focused lyrics. Although only involved in four pieces (and in "We Are Tribes" with a vocal sample) Zephaniah's contributions definitely add an impressive dimension to Back To Base's musical delivery. Talking about this outfit's musical delivery the attentive listener is able to trace the many influences of Back To Base. Besides elements of Jazz, Rock, Funk, Ambient, Techno and African Music one will also find strong reference points to Reggae, Ska and Dub.
It's obvious one concentrates on Benjamin Zephaniah, whose vocal and lyrical delivery Back To Base provided with some great arrangements. "One Day" grabs you from the very first moment to never let loose again. The wicked "Nu Blue Suede Shoes" has a fine reggae-style riddim, the pefect vehicle for Zephaniah's declamations. The most impressive tune on this album is entitled "The President Is Dead Again", dedicated to the Nigerian poet/activist Ken Saro-Wiwa who was judicially murdered by the Nigerian regime in 1995. "Dancing Tribes" - previously releases on CD single - has a different mood, but is very enjoyable too. However, it wouldn't be fair to ignore the Back To Base deliveries as this outfit succeeds to maintain the high quality standard in the remaining tracks, in which they create a spectrum of infectious dub inflected dance sounds.
"Heading For The Door" is not an album that will reach the hardcore reggae fan, but has plenty to enjoy for those who don't limit their musical taste.

Teacher & Mr. T.