Apple Gabriel

Another Moses

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For his solo debut, Apple Gabriel doesn't depart too much from the sound of his regular band, the rootsy harmony trio Israel Vibration. Although the music isn't provided by Roots Radics (Israel Vibration's usual backing crew), it might as well be, with Earl "Flabba" Holt occupying both the bass and drum chairs and giving up the sturdy rockers beats; Gabriel overdubs his own harmony vocals, and the themes of Rastafarian uplift, populist politics and spiritually-tinged romantic love are also the same. If anything, though, the melodies (never Israel Vibration's strong suit) are richer than normal; "Be As One," with its cute synthetic trombone, courtesy of Gabriel, is downright hummable, and even the highly derivative "Keep On Dancing" is consistently charming. Then there's those sturdy rockers beats, which you can always count on to keep you winding your waist. Those beats are not incidental: Flabba may be the new Robbie Shakespeare.

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