Chris Murray

4-Trackaganza!

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Chris Murray's 4-Trackaganza! wants to be a genre-defying study in diversity, but ends up as a straight-up rocksteady album. Murray just can't make up his mind whether he wants to just stick to the dancehall beat (example: "California Time") or to be optimistically experimental. The result is an album that wants to be broad, but ends up as another failed attempt by an American artist to capture the pure sound of Jamaican ska. For example, including the somewhat bluesy "Backrooms and Diesel Fumes" does not make up for the similarity of almost every other song on the record. And the two separate covers (one as a reprise) of The Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Science Fiction Double Feature" point to the worst kind of self-indulgence. The rocksteady songs themselves, aside from a couple of sublime gems like "Boyo," are nothing to write home about -- the album is just another example of an American artist oversimplifying ska into a mess of upstrokes and lyrics about "the beat."

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