A Day in the Life...

Beres Hammond

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A Day in the Life... Review

by Jo-Ann Greene

An album that had critics reaching for superlatives, A Day in the Life... was yet another magnificent set from Beres Hammond, an artist who seems incapable of anything less. This is a punchier record than its predecessor, Love From a Distance. The rhythms are sharper with edgier dancehall atmospheres than the gentler moods that blossomed on Love. But love is still an important theme in all its joy and passion, and Hammond explores it across a myriad of moods from the gentle romance of "Always Be There" to the fiery torch song "All I Need." But which woman is he singing about, for elsewhere he's caught in a "Two Sweet Love Affair," a soul stirrer about a love triangle. That number has a funky feel, while in contrast "Sorry Mi Brethren" is pure effervescence, an absolute charmer where Hammond delicately turns down a night out with the boys to stay in with his best girl. So many ladies, so little time, and on "It's Not Official" the singer has spotted a new one, and is lost in love all over again. All of these are classics, but there's more to come, including the fabulous "This Love," where Hammond and Chevelle Franklin fall hungrily into each other's arms, and the equally stellar "Let's Face It," which soulfully dips into the cultural realm with its message of the importance of love for all. On the lush "Life" the singer muses on life's constant ability to surprise, yet that's no need for distress for Hammond knows "Victory" awaits the faithful, another standout cut that unites a rootsy dancehall backing to a fervid vocal performance. Which is why "Nothing's Gonna Change" as far as the singer is concerned, and on this slick R&B-styled song, Hammond makes fervently clear his determination to carry on bringing joy to listeners, and is equally adamant that he'll live his life as he chooses. Of course that doesn't mean those who follow suit aren't in for a tongue-lashing, and Hammond takes a lyrical whip to one skylarker on "There You Go," the smooth sweetness of the arrangement and vocals belying the bite of the lyrics. Elsewhere he tries to jolly the bad boys out of their wickedness with a bouncy backing and anthemic melody, asking them "What About Joy." But in the infectious stakes, "Can You Play Some More" is the most lethal, a massive hit that brought sheer delirium to the dancehalls with its exuberant celebration of the music and the dance. Hammond self-produced much of this set, but there's also a Fat Eyes production, a pair overseen by Donovan Germain, and a couple from Bobby "B. NixX" Nickson. A myriad of musicians lend a hand, with the Firehouse Crew, Sly & Robbie, Stephen Marsden, and Dean Fraser among the illustrious talent, alongside a bevy of backing vocalists. It's a sumptuous affair, with plenty of dancehall flair, and packs an emotional wallop. Yet another must-have for fans.

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