Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Red Hot
Pura Vida
Lost Ark Music
CD
September 14, 2013

Track list
  1. Jah Make Yah
  2. Where You Gonna Run
  3. Broken Hearted
  4. Red Hot
  5. Standing Alone
  6. Life Is A Gift
  7. Row Your Boat Ashore
  8. Forever One
  9. River Run Dry (Live)
  10. Democracy (Live)
  11. Life Is Dub
  12. Broken Dub
  13. Dub Alone
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Belgium's Pura Vida has made an enourmous impact on keeping Roots Reggae Musik alive throughout Europe and beyond. From their first single with Prince Alla to their great albums with The Congos and Congo Ashanti Roy; The Golden Age has been kept alive with innovative means. Their fourth album, "Red Hot" is true to the title - with blazing studio and live tracks...

Pura Vida has been on the scene since 2007 as the brainchild of Bregt De Boever. The following year, they won the Benelux European Reggae Contest and cemented their entrance at Rototom Sunsplash. They have never looked back. They recorded their first single, "Destiny" with Prince Alla and released their first album, "Struggle In The City" (2010). The following year, they collaborated with The Congos for "We Nah Give Up". Last year's "Hard Road" with Congo Ashanti Roy round out these three fantastic releases. Relatively, they've kept the same players of instruments and they are all committed to keeping real sounds alive. Bregt De Boever handles lead vox. Backing vox are Bregt, Stefaan Coleman (aka Collieman) and Nina Schelfthout. Bassie is "Bobo" Perck. Drummie is David Van Bellegham. Guitars are licked by Bregt and Wouter Rosseel. Keys are bubbled by Bregt, Simon De Cante and Bos Debusscher. Percussion is done by Bregt and Stefaan. The massive horn section is Pieter De Naegel, Karel Desmaele and Sam Vanderkerchove. As usual, the maestro Poddington Krank produced and engineered these tracks at Lost Ark Studio and during a live performance in the Netherlands.

Jah Make Yah opens up like a reggaechastra. Bregt takes on a Ashanti Roy style that's very rootical with lyrics like - "music of the sufferah gives us the power to move on". The musicianmanship is impeccable and the usual Black Ark ambience is evident and welcome. Where You Gonna Run is a serious track. In full Congos mode, Bregt and backing chorus bring back Cedric/Watty/Ashanti in full glory! The atmosphere is ethereal with great organs, drums and a mouth whistle that's killer. This outfit doesn't try to outdo themselves; just keeping the message true and through. Great song! Broken Hearted demonstrates Bregt's maturity as singer and songwriter. This is an intelligent song of upliftment - Reggae music will take away your pain". A bluesly harmonica navigates thru the track; adding more dimension to this ites song. The title track is blazing hot. This is Lion Sound! Over a taut riddim, Bregt proudly delivers a joyful ode despite any circumstances. Standing Alone is masterclass. A great horn intro gives way to Ashanti Roy stylings with significant melodica and skanking riddim. Is Lee Perry at the controls or Poddington? They capture the vibes so well. Life Is A Gift is a standout selection. This track is delivered in hymn-like stature. The emotions are high with great chorus and organ/guitar playing that's incredible. Testament to 1976!

Row Your Boat Ashore is a righteous ode to The Congos. A thumping horn section, guitar, drum, bass and percussion lays the musical foundation for a track that truly belongs on early Congos releases. The Black Ark stylings are impeccable and it's applause that these sounds are being generated in this time. Forever One is another standout selection. Bregt takes on a Junior Murvin with absolute authenticity; it's a reincarnation of the Golden Age. Wicked drum rolls and keeping a solid musical foundation are key components here. Incredible delivery and songwriting power. River Run Dry is a great example of how Pura Vida delivers on stage. Recorded on 10/11/12 in the Netherlands, Bregt demonstrates his own rootical style with all players of instruments in sync. The live mix by Poddington is niceness. Democracy is another live track that shows the fullness and the rich sounds of this outfit. In full Congos glory, Bregt and crew delivers and even injects a little Harrison Stafford (Groundation) style - killer. The last three tracks are superior Dubs. What stands out about Life Is Dub is that it includes influences ranging from Lee Perry to King Tubby to King Jammy to Mad Professor - like a musical lesson on the history of Dub. Broken Dub and Dub Alone are great - not overdone but with the right amount of mixing up a Dub storm.

"Red Hot' really cements Pura Vida's status as one of Europe's most solid Roots outfits. They have not toured globally YET, but in time, Creation will know about the beauty and magic of their Lion sound. Their ability to keep the Black Ark and Golden Age eras alive and relevant is no easy feat but they do it so well. Pura Vida's links with absolute legends of the arena has certainly helped them and they use their own expertise in a forward and positive manner. Seek out "Red Hot" and all of their previous efforts and you will be amazed. Highest recommendation!!!!!