Hollie Cook Twice
Published May 23, 2014Hollie Cook's eponymous 2011 debut was one of the better reggae releases of the past few years; follow-up Twice builds on its predecessor's lush Lover's Rock textures with a generous dose of dub-influenced bass lines and urbane Philly disco-style strings that give Cook's self-described "tropical pop" a more mature and graceful aura. Opener "Ari Up" is a tribute to the late Slits frontwoman (Cook performed with a re-formed version of the band along with her father, Sex Pistol Paul Cook, until Up's 2010 death) that marries Cook's ethereal paean with a joyous ska bounce. "99," "Desdemona" and "Tiger Balm" are ideal summertime romantic confections that sway like island breezes.
Prince Fatty's production anchors Cook's delicate vocals with pumping yet seductive bass lines, and when Cook decides to stretch her palette — as with the steel drums and tablas that grace "Postman" or the futuristic Moroder-esque electronic effects, MFSB-influenced strings and echo that add charge to "Looking For Real Love," the set's best song — she offers an often startling and refreshing new take on the traditional Lover's Rock sound. She may be the daughter of punk royalty, but with Twice, Hollie Cook cements her status as a principal figure in the UK reggae scene. (Mr. Bongo)