EarthKry – Dandy Shandy
EarthKry, a four-piece reggae band from Kingston Jamaica, was founded about ten years ago by Phillip McFarlane (keyboards, vocalist), Kieron Cunningham (drummer, vocalist), Kamardo Blake (bass, vocalist), Aldayne Haughton (lead singer, guitar). Since then they’ve honed their skills in the recording studio and on international stages while touring extensively. Their popular debut EP Hard Road introduced the band to a wider audience, but it was their 2017 released beautiful first full-length album called Survival that definitely established the band’s name wordwide.
Back in February, 2021, EarthKry released a song titled Ms Mary, which actually announced the start of a new project. In an article in The Star, keyboardist Phillip McFarlane said the following about the song:
“The style is rocksteady… we want to focus on authentic Jamaican reggae music. Since the beginning of our career, our aim has been to trod in the footsteps of such greats as The Wailers and Black Uhuru, to name a few. If you go back and listen to the ’70s or early ’80s, this is what we were trying to emulate. We want to preserve those sounds for other generations alongside those legends.”
A few months later a next single called See You Again was released, which in the year 2022 was followed by two more songs of the band’s new project namely Maaga Dog (the original version and its dub mix) and Soon Come respectively. And thus fans and followers of EarthKry were introduced to five of the eight tracks that were going to appear on the new EP Dandy Shandy.
Dandy Shandy gets up and going with the familiar single Ms Mary, a lovely track that musically and vocally (with harmonies) harks back to the rocksteady era. Lyrically it’s cleverly done as the listener can interprete it as a marijuana song or a love song. A quality tune that instantly attracts the listener’s attention and caresses the eardrums. Musically in the same vein is the message tune In The Ghetto, which deals with the hardships of living in the ghetto. This track leaves a serious impression and is one of the highlights the EP has to offer. Then it’s time to put on your dancing shoes as the tempo goes up when the solid lover’s piece See You Again across riddim with an early reggae feel starts to leap off the speakers. Another Guy is the next tune that deals with affairs of the heart and what a downright stellar song it is. This is the kind of song that simply has to be played multiple times to make you fully realise that you’re listening to a really big tune. A great bass-driven reggae riddim, appealing vocal delivery, and lyrics one can relate to, make this a killer. Two more love tunes, Soon Come and Oh Sarah, come next with both maintaining the quality standard set by the previous tracks. Although Soon Come with its sweet vocals is the slightly better one, Oh Sarah is also worth hearing more than once. The EP is rounded off by two versions of Maaga Dog, a glorious song with a heavyweight roots reggae sound reminiscent of Black Uhuru recordings from the early 1980s. The song explains the scenario where a person might help another get up from their rough times, however in the end that very same person turns around and stab you in the back.
In all, there’s no weak or mediocre tune to be found on this Dandy Shandy EP, of which can be said that Another Guy and Maaga Dog are the standouts. No doubt about it.