Screwdriver

Prophecy

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    6
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It's been four years since Screwdriver's debut, and his follow-up album is a strong one, if not one destined to change the face of reggae music. It opens weakly; there's a faintly disturbing trend among modern reggae artists to try to expand their range by moving into mushy balladeering, and that tendency is unfortunately reflected in "What We Gonna Do," Prophecy's lead track. But then Screwdriver gets down to business, proceeding from the fine roots anthem "Songs of Love" to the exquisitely hard-headed "Them a Talk," on which Screwdriver manages to invoke the sound and spirit of both Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer simultaneously -- no mean feat. The album's title track is a powerful, horn-driven slab of Rastafarian mysticism, while "The Heat Is On" rocks to a galloping neo-ska beat. We could have done without the knee-jerk sexism of "Woman's World" (in which we are advised that feminine wiles have led many a man into heroin addiction), but it's the only ugly moment on a very fine sophomore album by a significant young talent.

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