The Black Seeds

Solid Ground

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The first U.S. release by New Zealand band the Black Seeds sees them doing a very good job of blending '70s roots reggae -- although, to be fair, it's a bit more UB40 than Bob Marley -- with '70s funk for an easy sound that creates plenty of nicely heady grooves. There are healthy stabs of soulful brass throughout, which evoke Memphis far more than Auckland and add a neatly twisted flavor to the experience. Although they're primarily a reggae band, the Black Seeds actually seem most comfortable when they let the soul/funk side move to the fore, as it does with "Make a Move," for instance, or "Afrophone." The reggae might take a back seat then, but it remains a vital part of the whole, giving it an edge and bringing something slightly different to the party. For once, sounding a little retro is no bad thing, and it has to be said that they do it very well indeed.

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