Jahdan Blakkamoore Bablyon Nightmare

Jahdan Blakkamoore Bablyon Nightmare
Despite the incredibly fast pace at which Jamaica issues music, you'd think that the album format would be more time-consuming than it's worth for most artists. But the full-length is far from dead, and this one's at the top of the class. NYC via Toronto via Guyana singer Blakkamoore was wilfully eclectic on 2009's Buzzrock Warrior, but this record is more focused. He remains a chameleon though, and just as you're soaking up the warm flickers of dub and tasteful Ras Michael samples, he's coming at you with fierce DJ fire-spitting or subtle, effective hip-hop beats. Blakkamoore's a marvellous songwriter; he's a master at twisting a phrase around several bars to create winding, sonorous melodies before putting the hammer down with dancehall righteousness. "Red Hot" starts off like an urgent roots tune, but he stretches out the melody until the chorus, then the song shifts two gears up in intensity with a Sizzla-like verse ― so sweet. The instrumental arrangements are careful and superb, with special mention to the exceptional, jazz-tinged horns. There isn't a duff track on this release, and it's a fine showcase for the best aspects of contemporary reggae. (Lustre Kings)