UK dub fuelled ska, rocksteady and reggae outfit Pama International has released some really interesting records in the past years. The tune Highrise, featuring Michie One, was one of the best songs in 2008 and last year they released the soul drenched album Pama Outernational.
Now they’ve decided to re-release their self-titled debut, originally released in 2002. The sound on this album reminds a lot of their other releases – lots of ska, rocksteady and reggae fused with 60’s soul.
The production and mixing is a bit rougher on this early set. The bass and organ are in the foreground and hits particularly hard in Earthquake and Second Chance. The latter is a cover of a Lloyd Charmers tune performed by the great Ken Boothe. And singer Finny actually has a bit of Ken Boothe phrasing in his voice on this tune.
On the debut Pama International featured an all-star cast with members from legendary UK bands such as Steel Pulse, Galliano, Style Council and Special Beat. And they’ve managed to produce a great groove. But it has marks of its time and a bit 90’s feel on some tracks, for example the vinyl scratching in Earthquake and If You Want Me to Stay.
The album has been deleted for some years and this new version contains five bonus tracks taken from the Dub Store Special ep (also deleted) mixed by Groove Corporation.
Pama International has a distinctive sound and may not suit every roots reggae purist or dancehall aficionado. But if you’re interested in an upbeat and joyful sound with live instrumentation, you might just like this and other Pama International records as well.