12 Songs, 1 Hour, 2 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Brown’s Body is a mainstay of the U.S. reggae scene for good reason. Its so-called “future roots” fusion of traditional roots-reggae grooves, modern dub sounds, socially conscious lyrics, and sharp horn charts connects with even the most hard-to-please reggae fans. (Even established Jamaican musicians give the band props.) Its eighth studio album (and first since 2008’s Amplify), Kings and Queens finds the band further refining this sound and tying it together as a singular whole. Thus, tunes like the hard-hitting “Step Inside,” the urgent reggae-with-a-message of “Empty Hands,” the slow epic grooves of “Deep Summer,” and the playful electronic dance of “Searchlight” all sit comfortably together. Also notable is the continuing development of lead singer and songwriter Elliot Martin, whose delivery can stand up to the top-notch backing this eight-piece band gives him. Those seeking Jamaican-style music that lives in the here and now could do much worse.

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Brown’s Body is a mainstay of the U.S. reggae scene for good reason. Its so-called “future roots” fusion of traditional roots-reggae grooves, modern dub sounds, socially conscious lyrics, and sharp horn charts connects with even the most hard-to-please reggae fans. (Even established Jamaican musicians give the band props.) Its eighth studio album (and first since 2008’s Amplify), Kings and Queens finds the band further refining this sound and tying it together as a singular whole. Thus, tunes like the hard-hitting “Step Inside,” the urgent reggae-with-a-message of “Empty Hands,” the slow epic grooves of “Deep Summer,” and the playful electronic dance of “Searchlight” all sit comfortably together. Also notable is the continuing development of lead singer and songwriter Elliot Martin, whose delivery can stand up to the top-notch backing this eight-piece band gives him. Those seeking Jamaican-style music that lives in the here and now could do much worse.

TITLE TIME
5:01
5:09
5:54
5:08
5:06
4:45
5:16
4:52
4:34
5:17
6:13
4:48

About John Brown's Body

Named in honor of the legendary abolitionist, reggae unit John Brown's Body was led by singer/guitarist Kevin Kinsella, a longtime fan of Caribbean music who formed the group Tribulations while attending college in Boston in 1989. Three years later they took top honors in the annual Yamaha Soundcheck contest, touring Japan as a result; in 1993 Tribulations also recorded in Jamaica, releasing the LPs The Gate and Daddy Good Pieces before disbanding. Striving for a more organic roots reggae sound, Kinsella founded John Brown's Body in 1995 with bassist Joshua Neuman, keyboardist Sam Godin, trumpeter Paul Merrill, saxophonist Lee Hamilton, backing vocalist Elliot Martin and drummer Tommy Benedetti; debuting in 1997 with All Time, the outfit signed to Shanachie to issue the follow-up Among Them two years later. This Day followed in early 2000. ~ Jason Ankeny

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