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.)
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