The Gladiators

In Store for You

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"I've got something on my mind, yes," Albert Griffiths declares on the title track to In Store for You, and across this stellar album he shares with listeners just precisely what that is. In Store for You was the group's follow-up to Country Living, and their second set for the Heartbeat label. Much had changed in the intervening two years, including the departure of a number of members, but one thing that hadn't was Griffiths' strong lyrical vision. However, the album does contain some surprises, including a surprising helping of relationship numbers that range from the romantic demands of "Give It Up Willing" through the glowing "Make It Work" and on to the slightly more suggestive "Vitamin A & C," all three laced with rich synths and warmed by Dwight Pinkney's supple guitar. These lovely numbers are far removed from the slack sexuality that was currently raining down on the dancehalls. That's a fashion that deeply offends Griffiths, and he makes his opinion clear on the forceful "Clean Hands," one of a clutch of excellent cultural numbers within the set. "The Holy Hill" discusses Judgment Day, its lyrics inspired by the Bible and given a fabulous C&W flavor by Pinkney. "On TV" covers the same upcoming event, but in a much more delicate and infectious manner. These three are all are superb, but the centerpiece is the magnificent "Careless Gun," a resounding, impassioned look at the violence inflaming the island. Add a high-stepping tribute to the Big Apple's Caribbean community, an insistent reggae number that warns off anyone thinking of crossing the singer, and the stealthy title track that celebrates the band's own music, and what the Gladiators have In Store for You is one classic album.

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