UK roots and dub outfit Shades of Black return with a new album after a six year hiatus. Break Free follows their Michael Rose produced albums Great Expectations and Dub Expectations, released in 2008.
Shades of Black formed in the 90s and have put a number of solid roots numbers and their new album is no exception. It collects a hefty 18 tracks and the vocal talents of Paul Fox – who is one of the founders – along with Saimn-I, Jimmy Ranks, Jahman Dan and Michael Rose. Seven of the cuts are dub versions and one is an instrumental with horns provided by Moonshine Horns, a duo that deliver brass on several tracks.
Break Free is solid and tough UK roots with a mix of programming and live instrumentation. Michael Rose handles the microphone on the haunting Lion in the Flag, which has a synth reminiscent to the X-Files, and Paul Fox’ dramatic, soft and mystical singing floats nicely over a powerful steppers riddim on album opener Simmer Down.
Shades of Black has made an album echoing from the 90s when UK roots was the order of the day.