Morgan Heritage

Here Come the Kings

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After taking five years off to tend to solo projects and personal matters, Morgan Heritage returned with their tenth effort, the well-rounded Here Come the Kings. Here, the family group that has kept the roots reggae spirit burning with socially conscious lyrics and live instrumentation kicks things off righteously with the rootsy reminder "Man Has Forgotten," a call back to the teachings of Jah Rastafari. Hot-stepping and singing the praises of Rasta living, "Dem Ah Run Come" is an up anthem worthy of the mighty Culture, and while the creeping closer "Stand Up" is a strong argument to represent Mount Zion, big single "The Return" is the protest number that really sinks in, although when it lumps gender freedom issues into the song ("Sometimes we can't tell the man from the woman, no/And we can't tell the boys from the girls"), it's easy to believe that the LBGT community will not be invited to the parade. Less controversial are the pop numbers like "Perfect Love Song," which comes fairly close to its goal, and the cover of Michael Jackson's "Girl Is Mine," which is smooth, sweet, and soulful. "Love Stoned" is an effervescent, bouncy number that gives dancehall superstar Shaggy a chance to perform with a live group, and then there's the great "Holla," which comes on strong with a rock-solid groove, sticks in there with an infectious chorus, and then exits with a certified jam from the backing group. It's a balanced album with more pop-reggae than their previous effort, so expect more sweet but the usual solid.

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