Horace Andy Living In The Flood

There aren't many reggae artists who have enjoyed the diverse success as "Sleepy" Andy. From his beginnings at Studio One in 1970, Horace has gone on to make great dub, recorded successfully in America and Britain, and cemented his world-wide reputation through his work with Massive Attack. Working with veteran producer Clive Hunt, Horace seems to have picked up on the pop-reggae vibe generated by Finley Quaye (who should be paying royalties to Horace with every note that he sings). Whereas Quaye's album featured dub treatments and off-kilter grooves, Living In The Flood strives for a smooth pop lustre. Luckily, the pop content is pretty mellow, with the exception of the woeful attempt at rockin' out on "Right Time." Horace's voice has never been better recorded and the delicate balance of the lead and backing vocals throughout is delicious ear candy. Living in the Flood's downfall is its unwillingness to take chances. Being a modern Jamaican roots production, the sound is crisp and dry, not Lee Perry-after-ten-spliffs crazy. But Horace has been such an innovator in his career and he occupies such a wonderful space in the trippy Massive Attack universe, one can't help but be underwhelmed by this album. His songwriting continues to be strong, but only a few songs get a good riddim happening: "Johnny Too Bad," "Juggling" and the title track are examples. You're still better off buying the Melankolik greatest hits comp, or pick up a copy of Mezzanine to hear what Horace can really bring to a song. (Melankolik)