Various Harmony, Melody and Style

Various Harmony, Melody and Style
Trapped into watching another episode of American Idol ululations just makes me crave the lovers rock of Harmony, Melody and Style. The vocal styles of England's popular '70s and '80s reggae subgenre are almost painfully unadorned, save for some helium-infused female singers amping up girlish tales of heartbreak. Lovers rock luxuriates in plush electric keys, pillow-soft bass and a particular jazzy R&B flavour so essentially Anglo Jamaican. Most of this stuff was reviled in North America as poppy nonsense; it certainly is, but who can resist a second-tier singer spilling her guts, as in the Sadonians' "Goodbye My Love"? Elsewhere, R&B covers dominate, with ace versions of the Mary Jane Girls' "All Night Long," William DeVaughn's "Be Thankful" (about a decade before Massive Attack's version), Diana Ross's "Upside Down" and many more. The price of the two-disc set is totally justified by the tween-aged angst of Louisa Marks' eternal "Caught You in a Lie," the definitive lovers rock anthem. If all you know of lovers rock is the Sade album, this excellent collection will set you straight. (Soul Jazz)