Half Pint

No Stress Express

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Half Pint has taken a decidedly leisurely approach to recording over the past couple of decades, releasing only two albums during the ten years between his 1998 hit Legal We Legal and the new No Stress Express. But after more than thirty years in the business his exuberant tunefulness and positive attitude remain undiminished, and if this album doesn't feature him operating at the complete peak of his powers, it's still a worthy addition to Half Pint's small but distinguished catalog. Two tracks find him working with members of Sublime and the Long Beach Dub All-Stars -- the album-opening "Unity" is a sweet acoustic-based pop-reggae ditty that nicely sets the tone for the rest of the album, but "A Girl Like You" doesn't quite rise to the same standard. Sly & Robbie appear on two tracks, most notably a very fine remake of Half Pint's 2002 hit "Blessing Darling," and Dollarman contributes a nice deejay performance on the excellent combination track "Babylon Release the Chain." But the track that will likely garner the most attention is a fun and bouncy rocksteady arrangement of the Cars' new wave hit "My Best Friend's Girl" -- a rendition that ought to be heard blaring out of car windows all summer. This album's only real weakness is Half Pint's tendency to drift flat on a few of these songs -- a tendency that has always been there but seems to be getting worse as he ages. Still, No Stress Express is lots of fun overall, and will be welcomed by Half Pint's dedicated core of international fans. Recommended.

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