“Divine Spark” marks the Madison, Wisconsin roots reggae bands’ fifth studio album. This time around they have legendary producer Errol Brown (Bob Marley, Burning Spear) to work his mixing magic on the album.
When one thinks of Madison, WI you usually wouldn’t think of it as a hot bed for reggae but Natty Nation has been proving skeptics wrong by showing that cheeseheads and ragamuffins can live in harmony. Recently celebrating their eleventh anniversary, 2016 has the band unleashing a modern roots reggae album that sounds as timeless as any reggae classic.
While a lot of the modern reggae movement focuses on dancehall, dub and freestyle there has been an uprising with a few newer bands as well as some well-established reggae artists to reintroduce the world to the traditional reggae sounds that brought the island sound global attention. “Divine Spark” is one of those type of albums that I’ve been hearing more often recently…it incorporates the early 70s sound and energy with pop sensibilities from the 80s era but with a touch of a modern edgier sound. Listening to a song like “Prophecy”, with is powerful driving bass and uplifting harmonies, is like a looking glass back into the heydays of reggae in Jamaica while a song such as “Negus Negast” brings the modern dancehall vibe of rapid DJ vocals over a simple reggae beat.
Madison, WI…Kingston, Jamaica…San Diego, CA…does the location ever really matter? No. No it doesn’t. Anyone listening to “Divine Spark” can appreciate the fact that it is an amazing reggae album no matter its place of origin. From start to finish it is an excellent homage to the traditional roots reggae sound but with enough modern flair to keep things interesting without losing that vibe.
Bottom Line: Some excellent roots reggae with a modern touch that will take you away to a relaxing spot on a secluded beach, even if they hail from the frozen tundra.
Notable Tracks: Balance, Prophecy, Divine Spark, Purpose, Civil Rights