Only Conversation

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Dancehall crooners are a dime a dozen, but Lymie is something special, perhaps the most musically reliable reggae loverman since Sanchez. Only Conversation doesn't offer much in the way of variety, but it's so consistently pleasing that its lack of differentiation ends up feeling more like a blessing than a curse. Of its 14 tracks, 11 are straight-up romance ballads; the gloriously overwrought title track fuses an old-fashioned one-drop rhythm with lush backing vocals and Lymie's sweet, soaring tenor voice to create a curious juxtaposition of roots and dancehall flavors, and the cover versions (of "La La Means I Love You" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing") are charmingly kitschy. There are also three roots-and-culture songs, and one of them -- the rather stern "Calling" -- is easily the highlight of this album; it's enough to make you wish Lymie would do a whole album of roots material. Recommended.

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