Lyricsson – Messages




This former opening act for Manu Chao was born in Guinea, but then left for the US via Liberia. He’s also lived in the Caribbean but is based in Paris these days, where he works with his cousin Pyroman. Messages is his third album and adds a powerful new chapter to the Rasta sing-jay canon with its fiery lyrics, tough roots rhythms [mainly original, please note] and skilfully arranged harmonies. The production’s first-rate too and if you’re a fan of Capleton, Lutan Fyah or Jah Mason, then this album has lots to recommend it. Recording in English, Lyricson deals with the same kind of subject matter and also shares these artists’ ardent style of delivery. You’ve been warned!

Had he been Jamaican, you sense we would have heard a great deal more of him by now. The semi-acoustic Rise is masterful and transcends all categories [including that of Rasta reggae artist], but the remaining tracks leave nothing to chance. Revolution Start – co-starring singer Zamunda – is a mighty hammer blow and so committed, you can almost feel the earth move beneath your feet. It’s a measure of his versatility that he can shift from such Armagideon-like chants to singing of love in a heartbeat, and whilst modifying his vocals to match. Glad You’re Mine and Crush On You are sweetly sung romances, whilst Those Without Love and Love Is The Answer talk about love in the universal sense. The latter isn’t the Garnett Silk song by the way but an affirmation of God’s grace – a subject he’ll return to on Provider & Guide, and that underpins reality songs such as Life Is Not A Game, Bless The Youths, Upright and the gothic-sounding Blessings Multiply, which it’d fit neatly alongside Turbulence’s Notorious. Like Wise Up, it’s sending out a positive message to younger folks, but all these tracks are infused with Rasta wisdom, and thankfully manage to avoid the usual clichés we’ve heard so many times before.


About johnmasouri
John Masouri is a long-time author and music journalist specialising in reggae and its many off-shoots including dub, ska, roots and dancehall. The author of Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley's Wailers, published by Omnibus Press in 2008, he is currently working on a biography of reggae singer Peter Tosh, due to appear next year. In addition to book projects, he continues to write articles and reviews for Reggae Vibes (France), Riddim (Germany) and Echoes - formerly Black Echoes - which is renowned as Britain's No. 1 black music monthly. His work has also appeared in Mojo, Music Week, the Guardian, the Observer and the NME, as well as magazines in the US, Caribbean and Japan.

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