The list of reggae artists hailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands is long and seems to get longer for each and every year. Army – a former soldier, saxophone player and one of the scene’s veterans – has recently put out his fifth album Dredlocks Time, a set produced by himself and Higher Bound Productions with mixing magic courtesy of illustrious producer Tippy I of I Grade Records.
Army is not one of the most well-known artists coming from this group of islands, but he has been remarkably consistent over the years. As many other reggae singers he started his career as a little youth in the church choir. Acclaimed producer Dean Pond helmed production on his 2000-released debut album Yesterday’s News, a set re-released a few years later.
This new 15 track set is a prime example of VI-reggae. The riddims are original, the tempo is slow, the mood is eerie, the lyrics are conscious and the atmosphere is meditative. Army’s voice is soothing and the harmonies are set to a minimum.
There is however a short detour from the VI-reggae recipe. On There is Life the tempo increases and the hip-hop flavored riddim is bouncy and electronic, on an album that’s mainly based on live-instrumentation, including some very nice horns arrangements.
Today Army has relocated to the U.S. mainland, but he has kept the VI reggae scene close his heart.