Thursday, July 11, 2013

REVIEW: Jashwha Moses - No War On Earth

Jashwha Moses is no newcomer to roots reggae -- his first single was released over three decades ago.  But the UK artist is on a prolific run.  A year after releasing a full length retrospective of his work from 1978-2003 on Bristol Archive Records, he is back with No War On Earth.  Released on Sugar Shack Records, No War On Earth features nine vocal tracks and six dubs, produced under the direction of Mikey Taylor-Hall.  The set contains delights both expected and unexpected.  In the former category, the album features excellent vocals and strong, conscious lyrics.  And the dubs are magnificent -- spacey and atmospheric.  In the latter category, the album contains examples of vocal manipulation, layering and effects that go beyond the traditional dub reggae arts.  The result is a roots reggae album for modern times.

The album mostly consists of new material, although former releases "Jah Time Has Come" and "Steel" have been included in slightly reworked form.  In addition, Bob Marley's "War" is transformed into "Good Over Evil" on this album.  What impresses me most about Jashwha Moses is that three decades into the game, he sounds as focused, driven and, yes, hungry as he did in the early '80s.  No War On Earth would be a good album if a man of Moses' vocal abilities just put in a decent effort on nine vocal tracks.  But this album is so much more -- a vibrant package of music that affirms that conscious reggae lives on.  We don't give numerical rankings to albums here, but in my view this album is "essential" for the modern roots reggae collector.

The quality of the dubs on this album are well demonstrated by this dub of the title track--

Jashwha and his band also put on a great live show.  Here is a performance of "Good Over Evil" --

No War On Earth is out now on Bristol's Sugar Shack Records.  It is available on CD and via digital download.  Sugar Shack and its sister labels are simultaneously giving life to the historically strong Bristol reggae scene of past decades, and rejuvenating the current reggae scene.  As fans, we are grateful.

Bandcamp for album
Sugar Shack Records

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