Israel Vibration

Unconquered People

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With the acclaim that greeted Israel Vibration's debut album, Same Song, the Vibes returned to the studio with producer Tommy Cowan and the same aggregate of superb session men to record their follow-up, Unconquered People. However, the trio would co-produce the set this time around. The difference between the two records goes beyond the shift in production styles, though. The Vibes' very lack of experience had graced their first set with a subtle sense of naïveté, a quality that charmed the public and critics alike. This time, their self-confidence is evident, something the broadening of themes also makes clear. Same Song was almost entirely devotional, a liturgy of prayer and homage, and while the Vibes' deeply held beliefs still color every track, the trio now begins to move beyond the religious arena. The militant "Mr. Taxman" is pure culture, while the sufferer's song "Top Control" and "Possibilities" beautifully blend culture and devotion. "We a de Rasta," in contrast, is a quiet celebration of dreadness, whose muted arrangement and understated delivery conversely build up the piece's inherent anthemic quality. A truly sublime number. The musicianship is masterful throughout, the arrangements top-notch, and the trio shines across the entire set. Few groups follow up an exceptional debut with a second set of equal quality, but the Vibes make it look easy.

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