Spellbreakers – S/T
In 2018 and 2019, Spellbreakers delivered two notable 12″ singles, Who Feels It Knows It and Well Runs Dry, hinting at their potential as a much promising new 6-piece reggae band hailing from Antwerp, Belgium. Fast forward four years, and the group has finally unleashed their self-titled debut album as a double vinyl LP with an eye-catching gatefold sleeve. The first platter contains six brand new vocal cuts, while the second one showcases the dub mixes.
Upon reviewing the track list, featuring only three tracks on each side, it becomes evident that the band has prioritized the inclusion of extended versions of each song. An approach that clearly allowed them to pull out all the stops, which benefits the final result. And so does the addition of a three-piece horn section which comprises Dierik Heaven on trumpet, Wannes Moonlight on tenor sax, and Jort Sunshine on alto sax. All songs were recorded straight to 16 track analog tape at Kingston Echo’s Hoboken Hi-Fi studio and then mixed live in a single take using strictly analog equipment.
Regarding her vocal delivery, Juli Jupter, the band’s vocalist of Brazilian heritage, has certainly grown compared to the earlier-released two 12″ singles. Be it a slow one-drop riddim or a fast-paced one, she excels in vocalizing both with finesse. In addition, the band’s players of instruments, consisting of Missing Link (drums), Philip Blackfinger (bass), Kingston Echo (guitar), Jasper Fisherman (Organ), and Militant Mila (percussion, backing vocals), make a very solid and inspired impression.
Vocal & Dub
The album starts convincingly with the over six minutes lasting Flame Of Clarity on a riddim that evokes memories of Bob Marley’s Natural Mystic. In addition to the notable contribution of the horn players, it features a noteworthy organ solo that attracts attention. In We Are the change, a song urging people to stand together and take action amidst tumultuous times, the tempo is notably increased. This is not a tune that immediately strikes a chord, but rather one that requires repeated listening in order to appreciate it fully. Following this is the solid Deliverance, a tune that is more in line with the opening track of the album. It is followed by the exceptional House Of The Father, the undisputed highlight of the vocal part of this album. Vocal duties for the haunting Watch Your Step are now in the hands of drummer Missing Link. Then it’s drummer Missing Link who takes on the vocal duties for the eerie track, Watch Your Step, followed by Juli Jupter’s sung standout social commentary, Working Class. Even if you’re not an avid fan of dub music, there’s still a high chance that you’ll enjoy the second disc housed in the gatefold sleeve. Especially noteworthy are the tracks titled Clarity Dub, House Of Dub, and Dub Class.