The Aggrolites Reggae Hit L.A.

The Aggrolites Reggae Hit L.A.
Photo: Chris Gomez
When America’s best reggae band releases a record it’s time to celebrate. Reggae Hit L.A. is pure gold from start to finish; it’s that rare album that is sure to garner classic status sooner rather than later. Driven by Roger Rivas’s bravado on the organ and Jesse Wagner’s Muscle Shoals-styled vocals, the band’s third record pumps out more dirty reggae that hits the sweet spot between Ansel Collins and Sam Cooke, or late ’60s gospel-rich Maytals and Wilson Pickett. The band aren’t exactly purist though, and that’s what separates them from revival acts. "Work It,” for instance, could sit comfortably on the The Harder They Come soundtrack if it weren’t for the infectious Moog riff that runs through the track. "You Got 5” is a pretty good reinvention of instrumental rocksteady, "Left Red” borrows heavily from the Techniques and "Reconcile” nods in Orange Street’s direction, with its Prince Buster influence, but the Aggrolites bring enough originality and old fashioned, sweaty American R&B to the songs that you’ll spend less time trying to spot their roots and more time grooving to the results. If you’re tired of punked-up ska impostors, by the numbers revival acts and you haven’t yet made peace with the glossy contemporary American reggae acts found at the summer festivals, the Aggrolites should hit your record collection. (Hellcat)