With the new album “Play It Real” Israel Vibration, the reggae legend, celebrate 40 years of roots music. The 14 track longplayer CD has a playtime of 57:18 and comes with an excellent packaging in a specially designed digisleeve with rounded edges plus 16-page booklet with the lyrics to sing along.
“With a musical career spanning four decades, Israel Vibration are a rare relict from the golden heyday of roots reggae. While Cecil “Skelly” Spence and Lascelle “Wiss” Bulgin never really recovered from Albert “Apple” Craig’s leaving the vocal trio, Skelly and Wiss nevertheless continued to perform and thrill roots reggae traditionalists around the globe and release a new album every few years. Now they present their 18th studio album, Play It Real.
Once more they are accompanied by the phenomenal Roots Radics, Israel Vibration’s musical rock to build on since 1988. The riddims were recorded at the Mixing Lab Studio in Kingston. The brass sections were added at Tuff Gong Studio, and the vocal tracks at Clive Hunt’s studio. Play It Real comes with thirteen songs and one acoustic version.
There are those artists who constantly reinvent themselves, ever evolving and embracing new influences, and there are those who live by their established name, recreating the same formula over and over again. Israel Vibration clearly falls into the latter category. There’s an advantage to that: you know what to expect, you know they won’t disappoint your expectations. The downside is that things get predictable and boring. Israel Vibration had their fair share of reggae hits, and tunes like Why Worry, The Same Song, Cool & Calm, Strength Of My Life, Red Eyes, Vulture or Greedy Dog are all-time classics.
It’s just that our well-respected dinosaurs haven’t released songs which such an impact in a long time now, and chances are that Play It Real won’t turn around the wheel, either. It is an absolutely solid album, of course-you get what you expect, after all-, one that any Israel Vibration fan can enjoy a few times before it gets too boring. Despite the polished production and the Roots Radics shining as bright as ever, it can’t compete with the rougher classical albums of the trio before it turned into a duo.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone on board this project did a respectable job, no real flaws here. It’s just that listening to Play It Real feels like drinking a cup of tea that went cold a dozen times and was warmed up again thirteen times. Sound, structure of the songs, lyrics, message-it’s all been there already, right down to the putting in order of the songs. Even the cover artwork looks like any other Israel Vibration album. There’s so much happening right now in Jamaican music, but listening to Play It Real feels like time had been standing still for three decades.
Die-hard fans will delight in songs like the Tosh-quoting Ganja, Wha It Name, the progressive Man Up (The Gladiator’s Droop Lion features on this inappropriately named track), or IRS. All the others might be better off dedicating their time to Jamaica’s youngest musical generation-and getting familiar with Israel Vibration’s classical opus if they aren’t yet.” – reggaeville.com
03. Wha It Name
04. Man Up (feat. Droop Lion)
10. Dancing In The Rain
13. Leisure Dub
14. Dancing In The Rain (Acoustic)
The album Israel Vibration “Play It Real” (Utopia) is going to be released May 22, 2015.