About a year has gone by since Zion Train dropped the first single from their tenth album State of Mind, released earlier this week. Rainbow Children was a strong version of Aswad’s Rainbow Culture and featured its original vocalist Brinsley Forde alongside Ras Pyton and Dubdadda.
State of Mind sees Zion Train in great shape and as forward thinking as ever, even though several tunes echo from the outfits early days.
This twelve track set offers less vocals compared to its predecessor – the award-winning Live as One – and producer Neil Perch has invited Katrien Peeters to lay violin and viola on top of some of the tracks. The result is astonishing.
The tunes get a 1930’s blues and jazz touch to them. It’s like techno and dub producers are invited to a jam session in a studio in New Orleans. The most grandiose result is the frenetic and danceable Semper Augustus or The Black River Incident.
Classic Zion Train can be heard on the pulsating Ital Stew with its effective percussion or Great Leap Forward with its echo laid horns.
The most schizophrenic moment is A Tribute to Shura that borrows from Rolling Stones’ Paint it Black. It starts off as an electronica tune but transforms into a frenetic ska beat with a distorted bass line. Moments later it’s back in the electronica terrain again.
With Zion Train you never know what to expect other than great music. It seems that Neil Perch sees no boundaries and that is probably why Zion Train once again secures their position as leaders in the reggae/dub genre.
State of Mind is available as CD, LP and digital download.