At first, fans of John Brown's Body might be slightly taken aback upon listening to JBB's new album Pressure Points. With its slick, top-notch studio production, the band sounds different than ever before. This is an accessible, poppy reggae album that could feasibly catch the ears of many new listeners. It is a cohesive unit of short, tight, and danceable songs with only one clocking in at over five minutes.
All these tunes have very catchy hooks and choruses, beginning with the first track "Bread" and continuing on until the end of the disc. The vocals are also particularly impressive throughout. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Kevin Kinsella's voice has lost some of that raw, nasally quality to it, possibly because it has been overdubbed, though it sounds refreshing. His traditional vocal stylings don't make their introduction until the live staple "Full Control," a tribute to Jah. Kinsella's finest point on the album is the poignant and beautiful tune he helped to write, "Not Enough." Kevin truly flexes his vocal abilities on this one, utilizing the full spectrum of his skills. Second vocalist Elliot Martin provides excellent backup vocals and harmonies and has either written or co-written every track on the album, except for two. His writing style appears to be confrontational at times, especially on the blazingly fast track "New Blood," where he questions the way our world works.
As always, the musicianship is nothing short of fantastic. The JBB horn section keeps it tight with C-Money leading the way on trumpet. Silas Richardson adds some wonderful guitar and organ work, as well as adding his vocals to the harmonies. The rhythm section of Tommy Benedetti on drums and Scott Palmer on bass provides a sturdy, competent backbeat throughout.
Pressure Points is truly an impressive feat for John Brown's Body. Though I wouldn't say this album is representative of their live show, it is a fantastic studio creation. This disc is something that anyone should be able to pick up, pop in, and enjoy.
JamBase | Boston
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