Pharos Frontline
Pharos Records
December 9, 2005

Track list
  1. Anthony John - Come Together
  2. Empress Ayeola - Don't Be Resentful
  3. Fred Locks - Forces
  4. Little Roy - Membership Card
  5. The Amharic - Why Oh Why
  6. Eazy Wayne - Worries Of Life
  7. Fred Locks - Rastaman Fight
  8. The Amharic - Survivor
  9. Eazy Wayne - Armagiddeon Thing
  10. Earl 16 - African Teaching
  11. Yaashanti Kemai - Thank You Jah
  12. Gregory Isaacs - Fancy Words
  13. Ruddy Thomas - Dance With Me
  14. Little Roy - Stay A Little Bit Longer
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 1
This is another fine record from the almost faultless Pharos label -- for those of you who love "Revolutionary Dream" period Pablo Moses, Keith Hudson's more orthodox Rockers' styles, Creation Rebel, Hitrun label and "Same Song" period Israel Vibration -- then this label is tailor made for you.

Sometimes it must be said, the music is overtly conventional in style, therefore little new ground is broken composition and arrangement wise -- but it is played so well, so tightly and brightly with beautiful vocal arrangements, that the listeners' cynicism is soon set aside.

Horsemouth leads these compositions with his entrancing, mesmerising Rockers' rim shot styles, and Carlton Bubblers' arrangements here are almost as good as his work with Adrian Sherwood.

"Donít Be Resentful" is by Empress Ayeola, and exhibit's an unconventional almost operatic/jazz vocal style. The sleeve notes tell us she attended the same music school as the quite wonderful and under rated Sonya Spence who produced the immaculate "In the Dark" album. Her lyrics are insightful -- expressing her belief that resentment is an empty attitude, unworthy for a religious mind intent on detachment, unworthy for a mind with a consciousness intent on just passing through this material realm.

"Survivor" from The Amharic is in the early Culture style, with tranquil, stoic lyrics. Yaashanti Kemai has a powerful voice on "Thank You Jah", expressing her survivor struggler lyric over a rattling drum and bass line, with Horseman pushing the rhythm forward.

This album is not perfect from start to finish -- some of the songs are a little TOO orthodox, perhaps somewhat well worn stylistically -- but over all, it is a thoughtful, worthy collection, serving as a balanced introduction to a compelling, strong house band and a sincere label.

Pharos and the label house band deserve to be heard -- particularly if you are into classical aggressive drum patterns and wisdom transformative Gnostic centred lyrics.

With this calibre of musicianship, this label looks set to go from strength to strength. Watch closely.