Culture

Nuff Crisis

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Though the first half of the '80s brought dissent in the Culture camp, the remainder of the decade was a virtual turnaround, witnessing the group's most productive period since their late-'70s prime. Following a temporary split that saw leader Joseph Hill going it alone as a solo performer under the Culture title, the original lineup of Hill, Kenneth Lloyd Dayes and Albert Walker reunited. While the group had changed very little in the decade since their classic debut, the fact was hardly a problem as far as roots reggae fans were concerned. On Nuff Crisis, the gathering of session players is superb as usual, this time bringing together members of the Roots Radics, bassist Sly Dunbar and a sparkling, seven-piece horn section in the hands of arrangers Blacka Morwell and Robbie Shakespeare. Though love abounds, both in the spirit of the music and the hearts of the singers, virtually all the album's themes plea for "Peace, Love & Understanding" during grave times: relevant sentiments, regardless of the age. Though the crisp, vibrant keyboard line introducing "Jah Rastafari" teeters on the pop-reggae edge, the trio's heartfelt harmonies prevail and the music's pace is strictly roots. "Don't Cry Sufferer" offers words of assurance over the album's toughest beat. Elsewhere, songs like "Bang Belly Baby" and "Crack in New York" prove that the group were hardly locked in the past as they attack growing gun violence and the hypocrisy that was/is the war on drugs. With the digital sounds of ragga in vogue and many of Culture's contemporaries taking a more commercial route, it was refreshing to find a group sticking to what they do best.

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