Big Mountain

Blue Skies

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Big Mountain -- the reggae-pop band best known for their Top Ten cover of Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way" -- took a decade off after the release of their 2003 album Cool Breeze, but the enjoyable Blue Skies sounds like a follow-up to their breakthrough 1994 effort Unity. Bright synthesizers ping and pong about the speakers as if wearing overalls with the straps down was still in style and everyone was rushing home to see Melrose Place, but the best news of all is that lead singer Quino has retained his attention-grabbing, radio-worthy voice, delivering it all with that big blast of sunshine that made their Frampton cover such a pool party favorite. Speaking of "Baby," it is here in a laid-back, almost loungey version that goes well with burning patchouli, but the punchy ones to pick include the uplifting version of Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," the cool, not cornball take on "La La Means I Love You," plus the ragga-flavored original "My Lowrider," which brings to mind the bleepy Casio sound of the '80s. Those who think that reggae-pop in the post-Sublime era is just a punky reggae party will appreciate Big Mountain's cool, smooth, and cheerful return.

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