Born Fire Music
February 19, 2011
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 3/4||Production : 3||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
Reggae fans who were anxiously awaiting a worthy follow up of strong modern roots albums like "Higher Meditation" and "Rise Up", most likely won't be satisfied with the fire chanter's brand new self-produced album "Rasta Love". The latter largely follows the concept of the digitally released "Encore" album from 2010, and thus we're treated to mostly dancehall fused reggae tunes such as "Ganja Blaze", "Time To Have Fun", and the combination with Gyptian, "Never Wanna Lose You", while only few efforts stay real close to modern roots reggae.
It looks like Anthony B is exploring new territories, but in fact it's a dead end street as it is commonly known that this fiery artist is at his very best when he can deliver his incisive lyrics on powerful roots riddims (think the Frenchie produced albums for Greensleeves). In the first half of the new millennium Anthony B's career witnessed a serious relapse due to excessive output on cumbersome riddims and in part pretty banal lyrics, and the same could easily happen again by chosing a wrong musical direction.
Does this imply that "Rasta Love" is a complete failure and thus should be ignored by any self-respecting Anthony B/reggae fan? No, it isn't, but overall this surely isn't a set that can be ranked among his 'best of the best' albums. Tracks like e.g. "Blame It On Yourself", "Crazy Life (Broken Dreams)", and the worthless "Time To Have Fun", are underpinned by polished riddims embellished with Spanish guitar pickings and synthesizer sounds to give them a crossover appeal. This approach is present on most of the tracks and that's something you simply don't expect from an artist like Anthony B. Despite the fact that this is an unbalanced collection of tunes, "Rasta Love" luckily also features some sparkling efforts such as No One Knows Tomorrow", "Sweet Jamaica", and the nyahbinghi flavoured "White Collar Criminal". Furthermore nice to hear are the lovers tune "I'm Sorry (Breaking Your Heart)" across Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor's "New Chapter" riddim and the reworking of the Maytones' classic "Money Worries" done in combination with George Nooks, which is re-titled "Same Cry (Money Worries)".
With "Rasta Love", Anthony B delivers an obvious attempt to broaden his fanbase, but it's questionable if this strategy will work.