This Generation
The Lions
Stones Throw
May 15, 2013

Track list
  1. Bird On A Wire feat. Malik Moore
  2. This Generation feat. Malik Moore & Black Shakespeare
  3. Picture On The Wall feat. Leroy Sibbles
  4. Revelations feat. Black Shakespeare
  5. New Girl feat. James King
  6. Pieces Of A Man feat. Alex Désert
  7. More Higher Ways feat. Black Shakespeare & Malik Moore
  8. Jamie's Cryin' feat. Alex Désert
  9. Be Easy feat. Alex Désert
  10. Padre Ichiro feat. Malik Moore
  11. Roll It 'Round feat. Black Shakespeare
  12. Let's Go Out Tonight feat. Black Shakespeare
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
In 1976 Toots & The Maytals released the song "Reggae Got Soul", stating that there's Soul in Reggae music. That certainly can't be denied, especially when it comes to a number of recordings by soulful singer Toots Hibbert himself. But there are others who also express that 'reggae got soul' as most recently is done by an American band called The Lions. They've released a 12 track album entitled "This Generation", which incorporates a sound that is firmly placed in soul music, but undeniable has been inspired by reggae, sound system culture and the myriad of musical styles influenced by Jamaican music old and new.

The band draws together a dozen or so of LA's elite reggae and soul forerunners who loosely coalesced as The Lions in 2007. Members of the legendary ska band Hepcat, Deston Berry and Alex Désert, form half of the vocal team. The other half is the sweet falsetto of Malik Moore and DJ stylings of Black Shakespeare, the charismatic cousin of Robbie Shakespeare (of Sly & Robbie fame) and co-runner of the I&I Sound System, a customised ice cream van bringing bass to the streets of the west coast. Other members include guitarist Dan Ubick, formerly of Breakestra, Macy Gray co-writer and collaborator Dave Wilder on bass, plus musicians who have played with the likes of De La Soul, Barrington Levy, Beck, Raphael Saadiq, Big Daddy Kane and Black Eyed Peas.

The members of The Lions grew up hearing LPs that featured The Upsetters, Soul Syndicate, The Rockers Band and Roots Radics, and thus they wanted to give their records that same edge and roughness. According to guitarist and producer Dan Ubick... "The riddim section was all recorded to tape, the Hammond buzzed a little, fuses blew and good mistakes were left in. We basically made the dusty reggae soul LP WE have been wanting to hear for years." Although we were a bit sceptic when we started listening to "This Generation", we were pleasantly surprised and fully entertained by each and every effort. Great musicianship, good vocals, real nice harmonies and an appealing sound are the main pillars of this album. In particular worth hearing are the album opener "Bird On A Wire", the aggressive sounding "Revelations" (which somehow reminded us of The Clash), the wonderful "Pieces Of A Man", and the lovers lament "Padre Ichiro". But don't overlook the other tracks, because they're well worth a listen.

Overall opinion is that The Lions offer the listener a compelling collection of tunes, which keeps you involved from beginning to end.