Record Label: Happy People Records
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It’s been nearly 7 years since their last release but the reggae, soul and ska collective are back with a new lineup and a new album titled “Love & Austerity”.
Pama International has been doing their thing since the turn of the century and “Love & Austerity” is yet another gem to add to their amazing discography. This time around they’ve brought with them two new female lead vocalists to compliment the returning band veterans.
“Love & Austerity” kicks things off with an upbeat reggae cover of the classic Martha Reeves soul number “Heatwave”. It’s skankable, soulful and uplifting…the perfect start for things to come. Songs like “Austerity Skank”, “Man Next Door” and “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” show off the bands strong reggae roots while tracks like “I Cried Till I Stopped” and “Skies Are Blue” showcases the new vocalists’ soul and blues influences.
There are eight new tracks on “Love & Austerity” as well as four dub and discomixes of previous tracks from the album. While I’m not usually a fan of the extended play dub mixes, they provide an interesting take on some of the album tracks. “Duboline” is my favorite of the remixed tracks because it has a traditional reggae dub overlapped on top of the instrumental track.
With most of the Pama International albums having their own distinct flavor, “Love & Austerity” is no different. It is deeply rooted in traditional reggae and rocksteady but it also has a classic soul sound throughout. The addition of the dual female vocalists adds an entirely new dimension to their collective sound and the band sounds fresh and inspired. “Love & Austerity” is one of the strongest reggae albums of the year.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a reggae album that doesn’t follow the cookie cutter formula of the reggae revival, you owe it to yourself to ease your ears with “Love & Austerity”. Your ears will be thankin’ and your feet will be skankin’.
Notable Tracks: Heatwave, Gasoline, Austerity Skank, Man Next Door