Steel Pulse

Smash Hits

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Nothing on this 1993 compilation was actually a smash hit for Britain's Steel Pulse, a roots reggae outfit that started out with a rasta-righteous punk fervor in the late '70s but grew increasingly sleek and pop-oriented as the 1980s dawned. Drawn from the group's three 1980s albums for Elektra Records, 1982's True Democracy, 1984's Earth Crisis, and 1986's Babylon the Bandit, Smash Hits lacks anything from Steel Pulse's earlier impressive peak with Island Records, when tracks like "Ku Klux Klan" made them a truly focused, politically committed, and even dangerous band. Aside from a few scattered cuts like the wicked "Not King James Version," little of that early fire is on display here.

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