Reggae Now!

The Aggrolites

Pirates Press Records, 2019

http://www.aggroreggae.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/31/2019

A reggae band from Los Angeles who have been active since 2002, The Aggrolites rerecorded 3 songs from 2015 and added 11 more for this, their sixth album and first in eight years. While they’ve long been considered leaders in the areas of ska and rocksteady sounds, here funk, soulfulness and, of course, reggae are in attendance on the aptly titled my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Reggae Now!

“Pound For Pound” starts the listen with strong grooves and plenty of island rhythm as the somewhat rugged vocals enter the danceable equation, and “Say Or Do” follows with a reggae flavored love song that's emotive and even tips its hat to Motown in its soulful delivery. 

Further along, “Hurry Up” is just opposite as a laidback foundation allows the playful tune to glide by, while the melodic vocals of “Love Me Tonight” make this one of the most immediately irresistible tunes present. “People Win,” hands down the album highlight, then brings soothing backing vocals to the meticulous and feel-good setting.

Deeper cuts bring us “Invasion,” where organs from founding member Roger Rivas help create a spirited mood, and “15 Or 50” flows by without vocals, instead relying on strong musicianship. “Shadow Walk” ends the listen adventurous and spacey, and also without vocals in a dub-inspired exit that's classic Aggrolites material. 

Often referred to as 'dirty reggae,' The Aggrolites sit in a very unique sport, where diehard punks as well as reggae purists call themselves fans, and their diversity will even tempt those with an ear for blues, jazz and funk, too. Reggae Now! represents somewhat of a comeback album; The Aggrolites suffered some burnout in 2011 and slowed down considerably, but this excellent record proves that they've still got the songwriting chops and skill set to be one of the best of the best in area of modern reggae.

Rating: B+

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