Songs 'Bout Love And Fight
Petit Indie/Hmm Records
December 16, 2013
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
The beauty of King's Musik is that messengers emerge gracefully all the while. This year, one such band has emerged with enough verve and truthful power to really encompass the Glory of Jah Message. RAMPALION is a great Roots unit from Barcelona, Spain whose debut album is one of the crispest and refreshing offerings of the year. The vocal/Dub set is a limited edition masterpiece; with just 500 copies. It's only a matter of time before Roots lovers will know the beauty of RAMPALION'S distinctive and devoted sounds...
This lengthy set engages with Spiritual Chant. Lead singer Juan Manuel Villa possesses an earnest voice that carries hard (reminiscent of Big Mountain's lead singer Quino). On top of a truly organic platform, he triumphantly tells a tale of truth and hope. Great drums and guitar from Oscar Montesines and Victor Lema! Juan juggles the bulk of the additional riddim blocks, but the entire ensemble really holds tight. What We Really Are is strictly bubbling and gets to the Roots of the matter with sincere backing vox from Carla Serrano/Sara Resina. My Generation is an insight into the absolute potential of Rampalion! This is a total anthem in every sense that is cleverly constructed. Jordi Nuarlart's wailing guitar adds a great touch. BRILLIANT TRACK!! Laia cools down the pace in a Lover's paradise. The listener can tell how much Heart and Soul went into each song - beautiful. Oppression is an earthy wonder that is a keen observation into the cracks of the system but adds an element of hope. All musicians are in natural order. A Man In Troubles exemplifies the diversity of the band. Juan wails heartically over a riddim born from the Golden Age with some wicked modern licks. Crisis is THE standout selection here. Recorded at Anchor Studio (JA) with The Firehouse Crew, Bongo Herman and Everol Wray, Juan takes a Marleyesque approach and rocks it - "what was the deal, sir/I'll never sell out/you'll never see me taking part/game over". Just a brilliant piece of work that ranks as one of the best songs of 2013 that you may not have heard yet!! Gimmie Love is a lilting Love song that will open Heart and Soul inna joyful style. Solid riddim kicking.
Anger opens with Toni Delame's killer key licks and Juan mashing it inna true DJ style; really well. Nothing artificial here. Winter is a Niyabinghi driven ode that really demonstrates Rampalion's true nature of Reggae music and it's origin. Great oboe from David Villa and scatting from Juan. Caribbean Nights is a sweet reminder of the band's trips to Jamaica and the positivity that resulted. From the rimshot to the backing vox-this is pure joy. One Of These Days is a poignant uplifter with Juan singing with complete verve. Sounds like Big Mountain in their heyday. Leopard Girl and Air are powerful Love songs with a Marleyesque approach that truly deliver. The vocal set closes with Drums Of A Real Revolution. A Niyabinghi driver that goes deep and really shows the simple complexity of this rising unit. Great songwriting that hits you in a good fashion.
The Dub set is thoroughly engaging and a tour-de-force. Mixed in true analog method at Rampalion Studio (where most of the magic took place) by Juan and Oscar; every track is given proper treatment. Each song is stripped down tastefully and doesn't go too far or too flashy. There's nuances of Scientist/Chemist and King Tubby, but the overall ambience is completely original. The excursions that really stand out are Dub My Generation, No Crisis In Dub and One Of These Dubs. These talented bredrin are really at home at the mixing board and keep the true tradition of Dub alive in this time. Really impressive and repeated listening is a must.
Rampalion's "Songs 'Bout Love And Fight' lives up to its name. Every track is a surefire winner and full of thought and talent. This Roots unit is ramping up with local live dates and planning to tour Europe next year. Either live or by your stereo, you need to experience the sharp and true sounds they deliver. This double disc is double pleasure and double recommended. Hopefully, the limited pressing will become more available with more exposure. Visit www.rampalion.com for more info. GO DEH!!!!!