Review: Alborosie – 2 Times Revolution

Review: Alborosie – 2 Times Revolution

Alborosie – 2 Times Revolution
<Track Listing:
1.) Rolling Like A Rock
2.) Respect ft. Junior Reid
3.) Who You Think You Are
4.) La Revolucion
5.) I Wanna Go Home
6.) You Make Me Feel Good ft. Etana
7.) International Drama ft. Giuseppe Tarantino
8.) Camilla
9.) Tax War
10.) Jesus Is Coming
11.) Ragamuffin
12.) Soul Train
13.) Grow Your Dreads
14.) Rude Bwoy Love ft. Perfect Harmony
15.) What If Jamaica

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: June 21st, 2011
Record Label: VP/Greensleeves
Official Website: Alborosie Website

Artist Background:
Born Alberto D’Ascola, Alborosie rose to fame in the early 1990’s with Italian reggae group National Reggae Tickets, in which he was known as Stena. In 2001, Alborosie left the group to embark on a solo career. He moved to Jamaica and began working as a sound engineer and producer with both reggae legends and up-and-comers. He released his first solo album. Soul Pirate, in 2008. 2 Times Revolution is his third album.

Album Review:
2 Times Revolution is a great reggae album, though before I begin heaping praise over Alborosie’s fat beats and smooth production, let me get one thing out of the way: he insists on singing lead vocals on every track on the album, and, to be honest, his voice sounds kind of awkward. Alborosie is Italian-born and has spent the past decade living in Jamaica, soaking up the local Patois dialect. He sings mostly in English (“La Revolucion” features some vocals in Spanish) and the combination of his adopted-Patois mixed with the ever lingering remnants of an Italian accent sounds quite out of place on a reggae album…in my opinion (But, hey, this music is all about global unity right? There’s bound to be some strange dialects here and there).

Anyway, awkward accents aside, 2 Times Revolution is a pretty strong release, resting primarily on the brilliance of Alborosie’s production style, which combines traditional record techniques and riddims with a more cosmopolitan, global-minded outlook, taking cues from hip-hop, soca, and latin rhythms.

Opening track “Rolling Like A Rock” presents an overall introduction to the album and Alborosie’s production style. The track opens with a gravelley-voiced deejay introducing Alborosie with the demand, “listen and learn.” As sirens blare, a fat bassline pulses and skanking keyboards enter the soundstage next to Alborosie’s (kind of awkward) faux-patois vocals. The song features dub effects, wah wah guitars, and fly-by-night vocal snippets, drenched in reverb and vocal filters.

As you can probably guess based on the song-titles, most of the lyrical content covers pretty standard conscious reggae content. Oppression, radical left politics, rasta-inspired mantras, Zion vs. Babylon, etc. If you’ve heard a few conscious Jamaican reggae musicians before, you know what you’re in for this time around. “La Revolucion” does feature Alborosie’s revolutionary rhymes in another language, Spanish, which is fitting for the song’s subject matter (an homage to Latin-American revolutionaries such as Emiliano Zapata, Fidel Castro, and, of course, Che Guevara).

All in all, Alborosie’s latest work is a pretty powerful piece of reggae punch, full of the warm, thick bass and murky atmosphere that made vintage reggae music a staple for audiophiles and would-be engineers everywhere. If you can get past Alborosie’s atypical vocal stylings, the album opens up into a multi-colored palette of reggae tones and traditions, pumped with a little extra flavor from a few other parts of the world.

Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro

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