Unify On The Hi-Fi
Prince Blanco
Renegade Media
Digital Release EP
May 11, 2011

Track list
  1. West Side Of Town
  2. Baby Let's Start A Revolution
  3. Unify On The Hi-Fi
  4. Ska Tissue
  5. That's Alright Mama
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Prince Blanco aka Mark Matthews, an award winning singer and musician based in Toronto, Canada, was born and raised in the UK, where he grew up heavily influenced by classic Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae music along with late '70s punk rock and the ska-fuelled 2-Tone sound. His debut set "Prince Blanco & The Rocksteady All-Stars", a collection of foundation reggae classics, was released in September 2006. It was followed by "Rebel Discotheque" in May 2008, which featured the top five satellite reggae radio hit "Good Times In The Dancehall".

2008 also saw the release of "Don't Pressurize Me", Prince Blanco's first single collaboration with producer Jesse James, better known as Dubmatix. And furthermore in 2009 there was "Tuff Dub" with Citizen Sound (aka Aram Scaram). Prince Blanco was also a featured artist on Citizen Sound's 2010 debut release including co-writing and playing guitar and bass on the summer hit "Reggae Is Her Name" from reggae singer Blessed.

Prince Blanco, the recipient of the 2010 JUNO Award (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award) for Reggae Recording of the Year along with Dubmatix for their single collaboration "Gonna Be Alright", signed with Renegade Media in January 2011, and now there's the digitally released "Unify On The Hi-Fi" EP for the label. This five-track EP features four new songs and a 'bonus track', all of them produced by Dubmatix, gives a good impression of Prince Blanco's musical influences. The real nice opening track "West Side Of Town" treats the listener to the early reggae sounds from 1968-70, while "Baby Let's Start A Revolution" is reminiscent of the kind of tunes that were featured on Elvis Costello's "My Aim Is True" album from 1977. Then the title track, "Unify On The Hi-Fi", takes the listener back to the short-lived rocksteady era. With a title like "Ska Tissue", it's obvious that this one comes with pounding ska sound. The EP's bonus track, "That's Alright Mama", a rendition of the Elvis Presley song, fuses rockabilly with ska to full effect.

All in all Prince Blanco's "Unify On The Hi-Fi" EP makes a good impression and is worth checking out.