U.S. reggae pioneers John Brown’s Body’s new album Kings and Queens is the band’s first full-length album in five years, and just like its predecessor Amplify it debuted #1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart.
The album is the second set without Kevin Kinsella, one of the group’s founders. And former backing singer Elliot Martin now handles singing and songwriting and the result is a contemporary U.S. reggae album with dub-infused echo-laid grooves, poppy vocal hooks, startling horn lines and a dense, thick sound.
Elliot Martin has a strained, moaning and compelling singing style and his melodies are frustratingly infectious. On album opener Step Inside his voice is distorted and swirling around in the mix with a gripping result.
Some of the tracks lean towards rock music with power guitar and fast drum patters. Just listen to Invitation where it sounds like the drummer uses a double-kick-pedal, popular in harder forms of rock music.
John Brown’s Body has been around for close to two decades and has now dropped eight studio albums. But more importantly they’ve managed to evolve and update their sound and also been vital in putting U.S. reggae on the map.
Kings and Queens is now available now on LP, CD and digital platforms.