Aggrolites – Reggae Now! LP/ CD (Pirates Press)

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Waves of skinhead reggae and ska bands have been coming and going for the past 50 odd years with periods of intense creativity, and some lulls in between. For the past decade (and then some) two bands have, in my opinion, been heads and shoulders above the rest and so it is always a pleasure when something new appears on the horizon from either The Slackers or Aggrolites. There are many factors that make a ska or reggae band great, well beyond the ability to strum an offbeat guitar on a tune that bounces along. The real key is to fully capture the feeling of the soulful sound. All the instruments need to work in perfect harmony in order to make those tunes dance right out of your sound system and into the dancehall/ pub back room/ living room, and it is that spirit that Aggrolites have always had in abundance.

Their dirty reggae sound is so laden with mood and atmosphere, it sucks you right in and only spits you out when it’s done with you. The hammond-organ-driven tunes are powered along by reverb-filled drums and bouncing basslines, with a guitar that strums, twangs and generally keeps things ticking along. The feather in the Aggrolites hat is their combination of reggae and soul, think Studio One meets Motown, as they blend the hard reggae sound with soaring soulful vocals and harmonies. In all honesty I expected nothing less, but this new album is prime Aggrolites that is going to delight fans both old and new. Tom Chapman


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