Singers & Players

Leaps & Bounds

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The fourth Singers & Players album was, in terms of continuity and attack, also the last. Although subsequent albums would appear beginning in 1988, Leaps & Bounds marked the end of an era, as Adrian Sherwood mourned the recent murder of Prince Far I by all but abandoning reggae for the next four years. Far I is a tangible presence on the album, of course. His distinctive growl powers the apocalyptic "Alla-La Dreadlocks Soldier" and the seemingly autobiographical "Dog Park," although the bulk of the vocals are handled by Congo Roy Ashanti, while there's also an appearance from Mikey Dread, whose lightly mocking and gibberish-laden tones give the exhilarating "Autobiography (Dread Operator)" an almost Eek-a-Mouse-y feel, before Congo Roy takes over the same rhythm for the equally ecstatic "Breaking Down the Pressure." (Both tracks, incidentally, are re-recorded from the 1983 single that first paired them.) Other highlights include a gorgeous revamp of "Make a Joyful Noise," and "Striving," with a horn section straight out of some great lost '70s soul puncher. Across the board, then, Leaps & Bounds is a mighty album, and one that lives up to its dedication to the late Prince in every way.

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