Selasee Run

If I heard only the first two tracks of this record, I’d immediately nominate it for album of the year. Selasee Atiase brings together sounds from his native Ghana with a love for roots reggae and American soul to create an original vibe of global goodness. Opening track "Run” is single-handedly one of the most memorable reggae tracks of the year, not only because of the clarity of songwriting but because innovative arrangements and production ensure that it’s never simply derivative of the style. Likewise, "Agba Yei” transports the listener to West Africa, with its supple highlife celebration of the end of the working day, a fete that subtly adds Jamaican and American musical touchstones to the proceedings. But unfortunately these tracks aren’t representative of the entire album and even before mid-point listeners will notice a downturn in energy and creativity, as Selasee embraces an affinity for Al Jarreau-style smooth R&B that functions as a lacklustre mainstream foil to the earlier beacons of ingenuity. Hopefully in the future Selasee will stick to what makes him original, not just what makes him money. And, based on a few of these songs, hopefully that future will be very, very long. (Running Dream)