Mark Wonder needs to pull in the reins

About a year ago Jamaican singer Mark Wonder revealed that a new album from him and some European producers was in the making. This album was released about a month ago and bears the title Working Wonders.

The European producers he referred to are Moritz “Da Baron” von Korff, courtesy of German Oneness Records, and Daddy Zigo, of French band Dub Inc. and Greenyard Records.

Mark Wonder released his debut album Sign of the Times in 1996, and Working Wonders follows on his True Stories of Mark Wonder and Friends put out in 2009 and reissued the year after with better distribution.

Working Wonders is jam-packed with uplifting, bright and beautiful melodies along with skanking bass lines and breezy, at times, jazzy horns. Mark Wonder’s gospel-inspired voice is however not as strong as the superb backing, and he is at times saved by powerful back-up vocals courtesy of experienced singers such as Sara Lugo and Nicky Burt.

The lead vocals are sometimes shaky, mostly in the higher notes, and he should take on a more no-nonsense vocal approach and stay away from vocal acrobatics. He shines on tracks like the crisp On This Day and the heartfelt Woman of the Nile, while the combinations with Sizzla and Mikey Melody are more vocally weak.

Mark Wonder’s continuous collaborations with European producers have over the years had its ups and downs and this album is no exception.

Working Wonders is currently available on CD and digital download.

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