Bambu Station / 1 Day
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Bambu Station
One Day
Mt. Nebo Records (www.mtneborecords.com)

It shouldn't come as any great news flash that Jamaica is not the only Caribbean locale that produces great reggae. In fact, with such Jamaican artists as Wayne Wonder and Shaggy having their music passed off as reggae despite far more of a hip-hop/r+b/pop feel, it's no wonder many listeners are going beyond Jamaica for the real thing. Bambu Station are from the Virgin Islands, and their reggae might best be described as relentlessly authentic. Most of the songs on One Day are slow or mid-tempo, with the intense, loping, heartbeat quality that characterized reggae before drum machines and crossover dreams took hold. The band is comprised of accomplished multi-instrumentalists who must know that it's no sellout to produce reggae that sounds crisp and clean. You might be reminded of South Africa's Lucky Dube or the rootsier side of Third World while listening to this disc, because Bambu Station also understand that authenticity does not cancel out professionalism. Nor does sounding modern mean that conscious themes are cast aside. The lyrical content of the tracks embraces such topics as self-worth, gun violence, spiritual guidance, AIDS, Arab/Israeli conflicts and the all-important peace and love. In short, things that matter today as much (or more) as ever. The players' musical chops are solid, with ear-grabbing bits of guitar, keyboard and percussion imbedded in the drum and bass foundation. Lead vocalist Jalani Horton has a clear, concise singing style that gives the lyrics the focus they deserve while complimenting perfectly the disc's laid back feel. Some might dismiss One Day as old fashioned or hopelessly idealistic, but fans of real roots reggae will relish this deeply enjoyable release for its embracing of elements that made reggae great in the first place. - Tom Orr


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