Jamaican bands such as Third World and Inner Circle was part of making reggae global in the 70’s. But they were not seen as authentic as Bob Marley, and was sometimes blamed for playing an uptown version of reggae with influences from the U.S. disco craze.
C Sharp can be seen as a modern version of Third World or Inner Circle, and their second album The Invitation – released in November last year – is a genre busting excursion with influences from pop, reggae, soul, americana, funk, dancehall and rock.
These five Edna Manley graduates are talented and versatile musicians. Just listen to the fierce rock guitar riff in album opener Family Man and then their cover of The Heptones Book of Rules, where the vocalists harmonize like The Band or Crosby, Stills & Nash. Or the tight reggae groove in Jezebel, the boasting dancehall in Busy Signal combination The Invitation and Heart of a Child, which is reminiscent of The Commodores’ classic Night Shift.
The Invitation might contain too many rock guitar solos for my taste and some may regard it as too lightweight. But this is not really a reggae album; this is a Jamaican pop album.