Pressure Points
John Brown's Body
Easy Star Records
DigiPak CD
April 30, 2005

Track list
  1. Bread
  2. Heart And Soul
  3. Blazing Love
  4. New Blood
  5. Make It Easy
  6. Full Control
  7. What We Gonna Do ?
  8. Picking Up
  9. Resonate
  10. Not Enough
  11. Follow Into Shadow
  12. Pressure Points
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
John Brown's Body is the brainchild of Kevin Kinsella (lead vocal, rhythm guitar, percussion) a youthful veteran of the American reggae scene. At the age of 15 he started a group called Tribulations. After the release of two albums the band split up and Kevin decide to form a band with a more rootsy sound. When John Brown's Body formed upstate in Ithaca 10 years ago, the group's name wasn't their only backward-looking trait. Inspired by classic Jamaican reggae acts, the band played an immaculate re-creation of their vintage rock-steady sound. JBB's precision and musical authenticity made it a hit on the college circuit, but West Indian fans never really accepted the sound as "real" reggae. Now the band itself has rejected the notion of playing anything like a pure strain of reggae. "When you get infatuated with a certain kind of music, you go right to its core first," says Alex Beram, who plays trombone and nyabinghi drums in the eight-member band. "But once you get inside of it for a while, you're pushed to take it someplace."

Their fifth CD, "Pressure Points" fully realizes the genre-crossing sound they've been looking for. While the loping thump of the reggae groove is intact, the band stretches out with electronic samples, distinctly poppy song structures and an atmosphere that sounds more like Massive Attack than Marley. However, "Pressure Points" is an above par reggae album with outstanding tunes such as Resonate and Heart And Soul. The album features many songs that have been an integral part of the band's set list for the past few years, as well as some entirely new tunes. A big contributor to the new direction is vocalist Elliot Martin, who took a supporting role to singer-guitarist Kevin Kinsella on the band's first three records. Writing nine of the album's 12 songs, he comes into his own on this album. Definitely well worth spinning is the well structured song Follow Into Shadow. Extremely danceable is the uptempo song Full Control. Blazing Love is a pounding drum and bass song, one of our favorites here.

The work was done primarily at Pyramid Studio in Ithaca, New York. Alex Perialis (known from works with Genuwine, Missy Elliot, Anthrax) has been on board as co-producer and engineer. The production has featured a few guest appearances by past John Brown’s Body family members, such as Lee Hamilton and Josh Driscoll, plus a vocal cameo by the legendary Meditations, one of Jamaica's best loved vocal groups.
Excellent stuff!