Bedouin Soundclash

Root Fire****

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A mix of funk, soul, and R&B with a pinch of world music, this group initially attempts to be far too eclectic for its own good. "This is great music/This is classical music," announces the introductory "Rodigan State Address" before moving into "Rebel Rouser." The song has a mix of dub reggae and African tribal rhythms in it, but the vocal delivery does little to heighten the song. Its length is also a cause for concern, as the song is too monotonous over almost seven minutes. "Dub in the Kalamegdan" is a bit more adventurous with more of a pop flavoring. The tune doesn't do the arrangement justice though, as it again seem to be far too deliberate and uninspired. When the band decides on a slightly more up-tempo groove à la the Police or even the Clash, it works very well. "Johnny Go to New York" is such an example, as the bassline propels the song. "Back to the Matter" is another strong song with an infectious beat and singalong chorus. The African rhythms and patterns on "Eloween Deowen" recall Paul Simon's Graceland album; it's also the album's most relaxing song with its subtle percussion and arrangements. The quality of the album evolves after some initial flubs, but by the time "Santa Monica" finishes its chorus, most listeners will be swaying to the melody. The highlight of the record is "Natural Right (Rude Bwoy)," similar in its tone and tempo to "Guns of Brixton" from the Clash.

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