Lloyd Parks

Wonder of You

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On the one hand, you have to give Lloyd Parks credit -- he's a talented multi-instrumentalist and one of reggae's finest songwriters, the man behind such classic and oft-recorded songs as "Mr. Percy", "Mafia" and "Rock Steady". On the other hand, he can't sing. Actually, it's not so much that he can't sing, it's that he can't sing in tune and he can‘t seem to muster up any energy. On his solo album's title track he is painfully flat on the soaring melody of the chorus, and on what should have been percolating, upbeat raveups ("Rock Steady", "Mr. Percy", even the kitsch classic "Kung Fu Fighting") he seems to be coasting along, investing little energy in his performances. Unfortunately, he is not helped by the instrumental tracks, which are generic and anemic digital reggae grooves that sound as if they were hastily thrown together by someone who didn't care very much how the album would sound. There are bright spots -- Parks' rendition of "Last Love" offers just the right balance of intensity and tenderness, and "Officially" features real instruments and an inspired vocal performance (and sounds like it was mastered from a vinyl 45). But they are not enough to save this sad mess of an album.