After the success of excellent Jamaican bands like Dubtonic Kru, Uprising Roots, Raging Fyah, C Sharp, No-Maddz, Mystikal Revolution and Pentateuch comes Earthkry. This fresh quartet formed – just like a host of the other bands – at the acclaimed Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston.
They have spent two years together writing songs, rehearsing and playing live in Jamaica. Their self-produced debut single 9 to 5 was released earlier this year, and it’s now followed by a five track EP. It showcases a classic roots rock reggae sound with live instrumentation, beautiful melodies and conscious lyrics echoing tribulations of everyday life and cries for social change.
When recording the superb Hard Road they have been working under the guidance of veteran reggae musicians like trombonist Ronald “Nambo” Robinson and former Third World keyboardist Michael “Ibo” Cooper along with producers Sam Clayton and Stephen Stewart, who currently runs the legendary Harry J studio.
Together they have crafted a solid and very promising debut set.
In Belgium there is a studio named The Lost Ark. It’s a nod to Lee Perry’s legendary Black Ark studio in Kingston, Jamaica, where he crafted his unique sound. Calling the studio Lost Ark certainly sounds too good to be true, but when listening to some of the music recorded there it’s fascinating how it resemblances Lee Perry’s mid to late 70’s output.
The latest set to come out of the Lost Ark is Congo Ashanti Roy’s and Belgian band Pura Vida’s Hard Road. Congo Ashanti Roy is one third of the original Congo’s who recorded their world-renowned debut album Heart of the Congos at the Black Ark with Lee Perry, and also last year recorded the album We Nah Give Up together with Pura Vida at the Lost Ark.
Hard Road is the brainchild of Pura Vida’s lead singer Bregt “Braithe” De Boever and Congo Ashanti Roy and collects eleven tracks, of which two are dub versions, recorded in Belgium and Jamaica. The production and mixing were handled by Poddington Krank.
The album is swirling, richly textured and atmospheric and sounds like it was recorded in a dense greenhouse full of ganja. The musicians utilizes a number of unexpected instruments, such as harmonica on the country-tinged Shadows of the Evening, strings on Hard Road and what sounds like a pan pipe on album opener Only Jah, a nyahbinghi track similar to Ras Michael’s album Love Thy Neighbour.
Even though Lee Perry has not been involved in this project his fingerprints are all over the place, and Hard Road is a fascinating musical journey with call-and-response singing, trancelike grooves, sublime horn arrangements and adventurous song structures.
Hard Road is available on digital platforms worldwide and a limited edition vinyl copy can by ordered via Lost Ark Music.