Arrow

No Rules

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Alphonsus Cassell, better known to the world as Arrow, has had a long career as a purveyor of high-energy soca dance music built around hybrid rhythms and a party-all-night philosophy. His "Hot Hot Hot," a huge international hit in the mid-'80s, pretty much shows Arrow's musical template. Of late, however, he has started to mix occasional political and social commentary into his songs. Not that he has any intention of abandoning his fill-the-dance-floor approach to making music, but the sharper tone to his lyrics on some of these tracks gives No Rules balance as an album, making it more than a dance party disc. "Rip de Bap" is an anti-war song of sorts, as only Arrow can deliver it: "The world wants to party/They don't want no war." Another high point is "Cellular," which has the clever lines "When I hear a cell phone ringing/I get a nervous feeling." The party anthems are here, of course, including the opening track, "Weekend Coming," and the soca funk of "Rolling," which features Edwin Yearwood, who also makes an appearance on "Jump Up." The final track, "I'm Proud," is a sincere and moving hymn to Arrow's homeland of Montserrat.

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