As his brothers venture into unexplored territory such as children’s music (Ziggy) and hip-hop (Damian), Stephen Marley acts as anchor for the clan on Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life. While Part 2 is planned as a more electric and future-minded affair, this first Revelation is a roots reggae-oriented effort, or at least “roots” in the Wailers (post-Tosh and post-Bunny) sense of the word. Think Father Bob’s Uprising and you’re close to the feel here, which goes from cool and woozy ( “No Cigarette Smoking (In My Room)” being a great re-creation of the “Pimper's Paradise" sway) to stately and militant (brother Damian and Buju Banton help make “Jah Army” the heir apparent to “Babylon System"), Stephen certainly has his own voice as well, with the wistful heartbreak of “She Knows Now” and the blues-flavored “Can’t Keep I Down” being unique entries in the whole Marley clan catalog, plus his songwriting has grown with subtle imagery and rich storytelling playing a bigger role than before. These are the reasons to return to the album, but familiarity is an equally strong point, and also its initial pull. Stone-cold grooves and socially conscious lyrics run rich in the Marley bloodline, and while Revelation might be a less-than-fitting title, fans of the Marley family can simply write “satisfying” or “a welcome reminder” on the spine if they choose.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries