Infantry Rockers


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The third album from this multinational reggae collective finds the group continuing to expand its sound from the dubwise instrumental focus of its earlier years into a more song-oriented and sharply political mode. The results of that development continue to be a bit mixed. The incorporation of Anglo-American and Latin American elements into traditional reggae sounds is always welcome, but the band's politics are painted with a pretty broad brush and sometimes the words seem to matter more to them than the music -- a good strategy for a life of activism, not so much for making compelling music. "Sheila," for example, is full of lyrical bluster but rather lacking in musical interest, as is true of the energetic but cliché-ridden "No Work for Babylon." "People" is lots of fun, however, and "Space Tram" is a very fine dub instrumental. "Bubblin'" manages to build a great song out of a repetitive and pedestrian rhythm (helped out by some nicely adventurous and Lee Perry-influenced production), and the album closes nicely with an excellent dub version of "Boombala." Lyrics notwithstanding, this isn't music that's going to change the world -- but it provides lots of good dancing material to keep you occupied while you wait (or work) for the revolution.

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