Soul-fuelled reggae on Pama International’s Love & Austerity

a0471493783_10UK’s Pama International finally returns after a seven year long hiatus – not counting work with Phoenix City All-stars. That’s much too long. And the return is graced by a new line-up and a new album.

Pama International has always been something of a collective – centred around founder/songwriter/keyboardist Sean Flowerdew – so a new line-up comes a no big surprise. The outfit has previously worked with members from The Specials and Madness as well as Jamaican legends such as Derrick Morgan, Dennis Alcapone and Rico Rodriguez.

The new line-up comes with two new lead singers – Jewels Vass and Anna Uhuru. And these songbirds sings seductive and passionate and give new life to all-time classics like the soul stomper Heatwave and The Paragons’ dramatic Man Next Door aka Got to Get Away.

Love & Austerity comes with 12 tracks, including three brutal discomixes and one dub version. The sound is raw, organic and aggressive. Almost garage-like at times. Even the two southern-styled ballads – Skies Are Blue and I Cried Til I Stopped – are rough around the edges.

Pama International’s unpolished, straight-forward and full soul-fuelled reggae sound is a nice break from much of the watered-down music that can often be heard – primarily on commercial radio – today.

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