Published Mar 09, 2016Although they're devoted to a genre of music that originated in Jamaica, there's something unmistakably Canadian about the Human Rights.
Formed by Friendlyness, who also plays in Big Sugar and Culture Shock, the Toronto ten-piece brings together reggae artist Tréson and legendary keyboardist Bernie Pitters, who cut his teeth playing with Toots & the Maytals, Leroy Brown and Sly & Robbie. Besides the fact that the Human Rights' self-titled, sophomore LP — produced by Big Sugar lead man Gordie Johnson — contains songs about ice rinks, name drops Toronto neighbourhoods and contributes a track to the last Trailer Park Boys film, it's actually the multi-cultural, affirmative and inclusive vibes that give the Human Rights their Canadian identity. The inclusion of Friendlyness and Tréson's dual vocals, alongside the group's triple guitar and propulsive beats allows tracks like "Babylon Feel Dis One" and "LionHeart" to exude a gleaming, beaming sound, but it's the three-piece horn section that gives standout tracks like "Old School Track" and "Natty Rebel" its teeth.
Although, musically, much of their self-titled album sticks close to its traditional roots, rarely venturing outside the reggae box, The Human Rights is a tightly executed piece of work that shows the group spreading the message of Jah in the most Canuck manner possible. (Independent)