Alborosie ‘2 Times Revolution’ (Greensleeves) 4/5

The nations of the Mediterranean have in recent years produced a host of singers who are either partly, or wholly influenced by reggae music. These include Sargent Garcia in Spain, Pierpoljak in France and the Franco-Basque-Spaniard now based in Barcelona, Manu Chao. Perhaps the most able candidate of all in a strictly roots reggae vein is a relative newcomer on the scene, Alborosie. Italian singer Alborosie has long been settled in Jamaica and amazingly sounds as though he has learnt his English from the teachings of Rasta’s, so authentic a voice does he now possess. This new album is arguably his most convincing yet and one that deserves to catapult the singer to international status. An obvious contender for a single is ‘International drama’ with its film score piano intro. Alborosie has clearly listened to a good deal of the early Wailers’ albums for Island and this is most evident on the infectious ‘Soul train’ and on ‘Who you think you are’. More roots reggae vibes are in evidence on the up-tempo rockers tune ‘I wanna go home’ while conscious roots lyrics abound on ‘Jesus he’s coming’. There are even shades of Manu Chao on ‘La revoulccion’ which is sung in Spanish. Not all is retro, however, with a reggaeton feel on ‘Camilla’ with dub echoes and sampling. A ragga-style vocal delivery is equally present on Rolling like a rock’ which has a riddim similar to Black Uhuru’s ‘General penitentiary’. Clearly aiming to appeal to a wider audience, Alborosie duets with a (unnamed) female singer on the lovers groove of ‘You make me feel good’ and on ‘Rude bwoy love’. A varied set, then, and one that deserves to go beyond the confines of reggae fans.

Tim Stenhouse