Sizzla – one of the most productive reggae artists ever – recently dropped The Scriptures, an album produced John John, son of veteran producer King Jammy.
Last year the pair did the wicked Music in my Soul – featured on this set – on the Zion Gate riddim, a relick of (Ain’t Got No Love) originally voiced by Leroy Smart.
The Scriptures is in the same rootsy vein, and is mostly built around live instrumentation. Those who urge for an angry and more dancehall oriented Sizzla will be disappointed.
Sizzla is mostly in a singing mood, and you can hear a lot of his high falsetto, which is more or less an acquired taste. Many tracks are saved by tasteful harmonies.
Just listen to World Cry. The verses took a while to fully appreciate, while the chorus sticks like glue.
And this actually goes for the album as a whole. It took me three or four times listening to the album before I realized that The Scriptures is a pretty strong effort. It is not great, and has several dull moments. Partly because of an overuse of rock guitar solos, and the punky Jump for Joy is very hard to understand.
Sizzla is undoubtedly an artist of many dimensions and styles. Straight singing is however not his strongest side, and this album owes much to the backing vocals courtesy of Camar Doyles, Connie Francis, Finoa Robinson and Sherida.