Friday, October 8, 2010

The Upsessions - Beat You Reggae

Continuing on with the old skool early reggae inspired albums that have been rotating lately at Springline Towers, are Dutch rude boys The Upsessions with their release from late last year, “Beat You Reggae”. This is yet another album that embraces that early reggae vibe and wears its influences firmly on its sleeve. Tunes like ‘Boss Pressure’ and especially Boogeyman, with its manic yelps sound lost Upsetter material, while The Black Ballroom Skank features a toasted lyrical style that reminded me of I-Roy. ‘Reggae Funkalicious’ and ‘The Soultrain’ are exactly as their titles suggests. The first is full on, mighty organ led funky reggae with the latter and closing track a more Stax / Volt inspired selection. ‘Hold Me Belinda’ has semi soul aspirations as the intro leads you into believing it is going to burst into a Motown styled soul fest but then morphs into swinging ska. The vocals on this however are a bit strained and uncomfortable; perhaps it is the pace that is the problem because on slower numbers the vocal is much improved. The ‘Dorothee Blackswan’ croon sees the Upsessions in almost lovers rock territory and is a track doesn’t really do anything for me as it is rather weak. ‘They Say’ however, which is in a similar vein, has a certain gentleness to it that I find quite endearing. My favourite song on the album is the rocksteady story ‘Sammy Wear No Gun’ telling a typical tale of a man wrongly shot down. Good old fashioned fare that one.
This is an album of mixed styles where some work and some don’t, but overall it can be considered a success…oh and it’s worth checking out for the laid back ‘Max, You Can’t Ride A Monkey’. I haven’t got a clue what it’s about but this simple tune should put a smile on anyone’s face.

Track List:

01. Boss Pressure
02. Ready For The Beat
03. The Black Ballroom Skank (Outlaw Larry point a gun) aka The Black Ballroom murder
04. Boogeyman
05. Hold Me Belinda
06. Dorothee Blackswan
07. Reggae Funkalicious (Chapter 1)
08. Sammy Wear No Gun
09. Big Boss Reggae
10. Max, You Can’t Ride A Monkey
11. Backstabber
12. They Say

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