The Aggrolites IV

The Aggrolites IV
The Aggrolites have dialled up the funk and soul for their fourth release but haven't let any of their reggae chops suffer in the process. "Firecracker," "Wild Time" and "Soul Gathering" chug along in funkadelic fashion, while slower numbers such as "Ever Want to Try" show a new sensitive side to the band, featuring a touch of Philly soul alongside their perennial scratchy guitar and rootsy bass. And although the band are known for feel-good, not all the 21 songs here are carefree. Instead, the laugh lines are beginning to show after preaching the gospel of soul reggae to the world for the past seven years. On "Feelin' Alright," one the album's brightest moments, we see singer Jesse Wagner in a solemn mood, both remembering friends who have passed on and taking aim at a cookie-cutter music industry that rewards mimicry at the expense of originality. The song is a reminder to critics and fans alike that despite the hardships (such as the death of a band member) this band aren't giving up. And it's that kind of sentiment, along with the new musical ground gained here, that marks a new maturity in the Aggrolites' career. (Hellcat)