The Lions

This Generation

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Now on Stones Throw, the massive L.A. reggae group offer up all the slinky grooves and great musicianship of their debut, but This Generation also showcases a better set of songs and more ambitious musical themes. As with Jungle Struttin', the 18 players on the album know their roots, and do a commendable job imitating the sounds of Jamaican reggae pioneers, incorporating all the little details that make this pass as the real-deal dusty vinyl of the '70s. Their last 2008 album was essentially a display of instrumental roots and dub (with the exception of a rocksteady version of the funk standard "Think (About It)," featuring Noelle Scaggs, and it was an impressive outing, but this feels more like a finished album than a calling card by a party band. The five vocalists on board, Malik Moore, Black Shakespeare, Deston Berry, Eddie Felix, and Alex Desert (who might be recognizable from his former acting gigs in the movies PCU and Swingers, or his steady role on the Becker sitcom) act like a well-polished unit, spreading messages of positivity while never stepping on each other's feet in the booth -- an impressive task, considering how hard it must be to fit all those guys in a studio. The self-titled track is the most celebratory moment on the album, but there's consistently fun to be had. Even the cover of Van Halen's "Jamie's Crying" works. Like so many albums on Stones Throw, PB Wolf's background in psych, funk, and soul plays an influence, and the adherence to details makes it seem like an authentic blast from the past. This is just one of those albums that works great either as a stoney throwback or a party-starter.

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