The Revolutionaries

The Revolutionaries

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The Revolutionaries is utterly simple and gorgeous instrumental reggae that hearkens back to dub's roots as instrumental B-sides of JA singles. Nothing fancy here, but it seems like some of these rhythms and melodies could go on forever without getting tiresome, and the easy-grooving repetition means that little things like cymbal shots go a long way dynamically. There's really no Lee Perry kitchen sink or King Tubby washes of echo and reverb to wage guerilla war on song structures and create a new sound science. The chief studio enhancements are just enough echo and reverb to make Sly Dunbar's drums snap, crackle, and pop and give a deeper resonance to the horn melodies playing against some simple but lethal basslines. The drums and bass foundation is up in the mix, and "Death Trap" points to dub's future in just letting the rockers' rhythm ride and dropping instruments into the mix. The horn section's melancholy take on the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" melody over the pulsing bass on "Angola" is an unforgettable masterstroke; "P.L.A." sounds something like the Skatalites updated and adapted to roots rhythms; and "Sudden Attack" starts foreboding and turns into a sunny afternoon stroll. "Why War" and "I Need a Roof" work off familiar rhythms, but then most of the songs here do -- they probably originated on Studio One recordings, but it was the Revolutionaires' roots reggae treatment that played an enormous role in introducing them to the world outside Jamaica.

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