Roots Revival

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This British group has come as close as any reggae band since the death of Bob Marley to cracking the pop/rock audience. Aswad's knack for catchy hooks and silky harmonies doesn't always go down as well with reggae purists and critics. Granted, there's no Marley vision here, but Aswad isn't trying to save the world-just get it to sing along on anthemic reggae-tinged popcraft. Group members Angus 'Drummie Zeb' Gaye and Tony 'Gad' Robinson succeed at that on this CD, a return to the touchstones of roots reggae, including remakes of songs by Marley, the Jamaicans and the Gladiators. Don't expect a rasta opus, though, because the accent here is on party-oriented, upped-tempo Carib pop. It works most of the time, particularly on soul reggae gems like 'Follow' and 'The Best Times of Our Lives,' infectious enough to get even Bob Dole to sing along. Ark 21. (Joe Robinson) FromEscape(September, 1999.) Subscriptions: $18/yr. (4 issues) from Box 462255, Escondido, CA 92046.