October 3, 2017
The Expanders | Old Time Something Come Back Again, Vol. 2
TITLE: Old Time Something Come Back Again, Vol. 2
LABEL: Easy Star
The Expanders are a Los Angeles-based reggae quintet that seems entirely uninterested in the reggae-rock hybrid that dominates the current West Coast sound. They’ve gone in the opposite direction, cultivating an old-school style based on the four R’s: roots, rockers, rub-a-dub and rocksteady, a lot like what The Frightnrs are doing on the East Coast. They’re friends with the son of reggae archivist Roger Steffens (author of the new Bob Marley biography); with access to his one-of-a-kind collection they’ve chosen 14 ultra-deep cuts to cover. There are lesser-known songs from name artists like Burning Spear (track 7 is a gem) and The Ethiopians (they really nail 8 and 12), and songs by artists I had to look up to make sure they really existed like Kenty Spence (14 is a highlight) and Ghetto Connection. The band’s lead vocals are undistinguished, but their multi-part harmonies capture the golden age of reggae trios and all the instrumentalists shine, especially bassist Chiquis Lozoya and keyboard player Roy Fishell. The album starts a bit slowly, but by track 5 they’ve found the right gear and it’s strong the rest of the way through. My kinda jam.
TOP TRACKS: 5 7 8 12 14
ALSO RECOMMENDED: most of the rest of them