Friday, February 13, 2009

AvMo - Rocking De Fro (In the Good Old Days)

Hear The Track Here

Out of all the musical genres, I can be amazingly cantankerous in most of them if I don't hear what I expect to hear. Nowhere is this more so than in a genre that I work in, and to even narrow that down further one I love above and beyond most other genres put together. My first experience of reggae was back when bluebeat was the name of the game and the record was 'My Boy Lollipop' by Millie and was released on the fledgling Island record label. For anyone born in this time in the UK, this song is permanently welded into our brains, despite its 'twee' sound - then and now. What it did though, with me anyway, was to spark an interest in the Jamaican music scene that has grown over the years with the genre, it has long been a major element in my own musical life having played it, recorded and produced it and even managed a little section of it. What I demand from the genre, more than anything else, is authenticity. Don't give me all that bollocks about 'can white men sing the blues' (or in this case reggae) either because that's just ridiculous and not even worthy of comment.

So, why o why, does AvMo (of all people) take such a risk?

See, Morris (for it is he) and I haven't seen eye to eye much about the music I have heard from him so far. Nothing greatly wrong with them, just not as ear catching as I would expect, but my standards are higher then most I guess. The reason I prefaced this review with a thumbnail sketch of my own feelings about the genre is because I should make my enormous bias clear. The most cringe-worthy moments I have heard musically have often come from people who come up with their idea of a reggae tune, a very, very difficult balancing act indeed. I've lost faith in many a bunch of gnarled rockers because they automatically assumed they could tame such a beast. What came out the other side was, of course, completely painful, utterly disposable (except for a laugh along the lines of 'can white men sing..') and not much good for anything.

OMG! AvMo, come back man....

See, the fact is that there IS a tradition of a kind of rock version of reggae; and its that which ultimately saves this track for me. Whereas I have been known to physically attack someone for defiling such a generous and warm music, I can (just about) stomach a rock reggae that is either a) tongue in cheek (so we all get the joke) or; b) it is put together and performed with a certain energy and style. On both those points AvMo (just about) manages to clamber over the barbed wire I usually install on these occasions. To be sure, the vocal delivery and lyrical content are about as po-faced as it gets - not exactly the kind of song you could sing without sniggering. Much more to the point, a lot of the actual sounds Mo brings into the picture are right on the money - the plonky, retro organ sound in particular. Great rock guitar solo too, I might add. So, reggae it most definitely ain't (as least not by my narrow, bigoted version of it) but it is funny, as well as being lightweight enough not to lose any sleep over.

Recommended LOL rock reggae. 'In de good ol' days...' lyric....Priceless.

No comments: