Everything reggae lovers could hope for, and recommended without reservation.
Angus Taylor 2009-11-19
Lloyd Brown has long been British reggae's best-kept secret in terms of ability and mainstream exposure. His thirteenth album, For Your Consideration (with its Oscars-referencing title) is yet another ample demonstration of why more accolades and awards are well overdue.
Blessed with an instantly recognisable easy-going voice, and fully conversant with lovers, soul and roots music – whether his own songs or unusual covers that take the original to the next level – Lloyd is the complete reggae singer.
This time, he concentrates on his own material: chastising the bad elements that hamstring the reggae industry (For Your Consideration), the artists who use gangster lyrics (Blah, Blah, Blah) and youths who act them out (the Heptones-sampling Badboy with Mr Williamz and Juxci D).
Reprimands aren’t all that Brown wishes us to consider, however. A Song About Nothing is an ode to idling in the tradition of The Beatles’ I'm Only Sleeping. The wistful Place in the Sun invokes the Caribbean to some distinctly British smooth jazzy soul. And Find a Solution is a mellow yet urgent call for social and political change.
The rhythms are the perfect mix of mindfulness and modernity. Excavations include the backing to Wailing Souls’ Jah Give Us Life for the stirring Live the Life You Love (featuring Sweetie Irie and Chucky Starr), and Lloyd Charmers’ Going in Circles for the Charmers/Phillip Gadd-produced Sweet Bitter Earth. Meanwhile, Dean Fraser (who lent Lloyd the rhythm for She's Royal for the equally good Show Me That You Love Me in 2007) supplies his rework of Bob Marley’s Jah Live for Know Yourself.
Brown first came to attention with the harmony group Sweet Distortion in the mid-1980s. He performed in the musical Black Heroes in the Hall Of Fame, and carved a niche in the 90s as a lovers rock singer, before taking an overtly Rasta direction towards the end of the millennium.
Boasting more tracks than eclectic predecessor Brownie Points but the same level of quality control, For Your Consideration is everything reggae lovers could hope for. Considered, and recommended without reservation.