I like to think of myself as a cultured music fan, someone that can listen to and enjoy various types of music. One genre that I never gave much listen to is reggae. John Brown’s Body are a reggae band with a twist. Not only does this eight-piece outfit have a horn section, but lead singer Elliot Martin creates electronic sounds using programming. This creates a traditional reggae sound with commanding drum and bass, while also including newer elements. “Step Inside” starts off the album in typical reggae fashion. The guitar chords are strummed on the offbeat as the bass and drums drive the song. Programming is heavily heard in songs like “Empty Hands” and “Dust Bowl.” “Empty Hands” has electronics in the background while the cymbal use and bass pave way for the vocals and guitar to lay in the foreground. This is a great song to relax and listen to while “Dust Bowl” is one to move along with the beat.

The horn section can be fully heard throughout the album. Songs like “Fall On Deep” and “Shine Bright” feature the trumpet, sax, and trombone. Along with the keyboards, they fill out space and add to the rhythm. The vocals on the upbeat “Shine Bright” have effects on them, standing out from the rest of the disc. Electronics go back and forth with the horns in the beginning of “Deep Summer” before the vocals kick in. Martin’s outstanding singing on “Deep Summer” steals the show.

You don’t have to like reggae to enjoy the music this band creates. These eight talented individuals can generate some of the catchiest songs with the most satisfying melodies. The additional instruments and use of electronics creates a rich texture, making this album a pleasant one to listen to.

In A Word: Serene

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