There's More To Life
Ariwa Sounds
October 28, 2005

Track list
  1. We Are His Children
  2. Black Butter Fly
  3. Children Of The Night
  4. I Can't Change
  5. Ebony Eyes
  6. Chitta Chatta
  7. Good Ambition
  8. Let's All Unite
  9. Someday
  10. Wickedness Increase
  11. Coke Is No Joke
  12. Children Of Dub
  13. Ebony Dub
  14. Someday Dub
  15. There’s More To Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 3 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 2
Aisha, the lady who very much defined the entire concept and style of what it means to be a female roots vocalists in that classic UK sound system style, returns with a diverse new album -- And it is a relief to say that she clearly feels she has no need to reproduce styles she personally pioneered twenty years ago, and is instead, seeking out and expressing new vibes, styles, nuances and influences.

And indeed, what would be the point of her doing a "roots by numbers" album? She has already done all that in a highly influential manner -- two decades ago -- and what on earth would be the point of doing it all again? (Lord knows there have been enough clichéd roots albums released over the last three years, we don't need any more -- it's as if those newcomers to roots music are imitating the outer OSSIFIED FORM of what roots music has become whilst entirely overlooking THE SPIRIT of what made roots music so radical, different and fresh in the first place. Big difference. Too many are missing that essential point now, particularly in the European new roots genre -- but it is equally true of JA one drops which are becoming increasingly rigid and uniform. The Xterminator innovations were taken to their logical extreme in the late 90's -- and it seems no one has taken the next step onwards and out of that form, into new mutations.)

"Give It To Creator" is Aisha's transformative wisdom lyric, and her most famous contribution to reggae music -- anyone who heard Shaka's speaker splintering three cuts to this tune would not forget it -- it was, and still is, a transcendent experience, which in its own way, invoked a new and inspired strand of reggae music which is still commonly imitated now. Though very few have made this style their own in the manner Aisha did, besides perhaps the excellent Sister Rasheeda and Sis Nya who most certainly shone just as brightly and beautifully.

But there was always the other side to Aisha -- a softer, less militant, yet no less insightful side -- this was in evidence on earlier tunes like "Love Is So Simple" which showcased another side to her talents, and this side of her talent was equally as uplifting and inspiring as her roots output.

So this new album features a wide array of vocal styles and influences : 60's/70's r n' b -- not the present day vacuous, materially minded r n' b styles please note -- as well as soul, funk and jazz nuances and inflections.

It all works very well. And importantly -- Aisha is not a lazy lyricist, not falling prey to that other irritating hallmark of current European roots. So don't expect clichéd lyrics rehashing insincere Old Testament themes, but rather Aisha's own very personal narratives and observations.

It may not be Aisha's best record -- but it is an optimistic, forward looking, spiritually uplifting and fulfilling work -- and Mad Professor comes to life too, when he isn't solely limiting his skills to roots music. There have always been radically diverse other dimensions to Neil Fraser's skills, so Aisha's lyrics and sentiments are a perfect vehicle for him to express those other moods.