Richie Spice ‘The Book of Job’ (VP) 3/5

Contemporary reggae singer Richie Spice has been on the scene for some time now and this is his fifth album. It steers between a modern update on the classic roots genre and a more lovers-oriented approach and works best on the songs devoted to the more socially conscious side of the singer’s songwriting. A potential future single and arguably the most convincing track on the entire album is ‘Find Jah’ which, from the very first notes, is an instant winner. More of this style is required from Spice. Almost as good is the opener ‘Better tomorrow’ with lovely female harmonies. The lilting hues of ‘Confirmation’ has Spice’s voice somewhere between a roots vocalist and the saucer delivery of say Sizzla. In fact Richie sounds positively like a latter-day Dennis Brown on ‘Serious woman’ with its subtle use of keyboards. Produced mainly by Donovan Germain and elsewhere by Shane Brown and Stephen ‘Lenky’ Mardsen, this latest album is a mixed bag of goodies and the slightly annoying intro vocalizing by Spice, which is repeated on several songs, could do with being dispensed with immediately. Singles already out included within feature a take on the Crusaders ‘Street life’ retitled ‘My life’ and ‘Jah never let us down’.

Tim Stenhouse