November 28, 2012

Mellow moods from Richie Spice on Soothing Sounds: Acoustic

Roots reggae singer Richie Spice takes his music to another level with the release of his highly anticipated sixth album, Soothing Sounds: Acoustic.

Touted as a collector’s item, this acoustic set is a one-off departure from Spice’s norm, and, on a broader scale, a departure from the norm in reggae music itself. An acoustic set is no easy feat in reggae, and only a few artistes of this genre have attempted to offer a full length unplugged set such as this. However, with the excitement that Soothing Sounds: Acoustics has aroused, it is likely that we will be getting more albums like this from other reggae acts in the future.

Interestingly, Richie Spice and his accomplished team – which includes talented producer Mitchum ‘Khan’ Chin, who doubles as guitarist; bass player Robbie Shakespeare (of Sly and Robbie fame) Bongo Herman and  percussionists Denver Smith – make the production of an acoustic set look all too easy. The very first single, Free, embodied with strong lyrical content, haunting melodies and soothing sounds layered over harsh realities, intrigued the ears of hardened critics and fans alike and set the tone for Soothing Sounds: Acoustic.

On this album, Spice meanders through the hills and valley of reggae’s spirituality, boldly embracing the hard times, denouncing the ‘dirty system’, highlighting the good times and also  speaking eloquently about love and loving.  Steering his rich vocals through previously uncharted waters balanced with a guitar-driven instrumentation, Spice’s falsetto comes across clean and crisp, and the sounds are so soothing that even when Spice asks a tough, rhetoric question, the listener has no choice but  to rewind track after track.

A complementary mix of tested and proven favourites interspersed with new offerings, the 15-track album transports songs from previous albums and inject them with new and different life. Among the remakes are A No Me Dat (Trulove); Boom (My Heart); Youth Dem Cold (Searching); Grooving My Girl (My Girl); All Day All Night (All Night); Spinning Around (Downside Up) and Rise (Get Up).

Among the stand-out tracks are, the lead singles Free and Crying, Heng On In Deh, All Night, Downside Up and Get Up. The final track, Agony, somehow introduces a different mood in what is otherwise a soothing, soulful, unplugged set.

Soothing Sounds: Acoustic was released on October 23 on the Tad’s Record imprint.


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