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Album Review

As gap-fillers go, this seven-track collection of remixes-plus-one-new-live-song (which is based primarily on John Brown's Body's 2008 album, Amplify) is about as good as they come. The band's turn from roots reggae classicism became decisive over the course of its last two albums as former backup singer Elliot Martin has taken firmer control of the group, and it is now a completely different organism: although the John Brown's Body sound is still distinctly reggae-ish, it's denser, swirlier, sometimes downright funky, and loaded with more powerful melodic hooks. It's the perfect vehicle for an adventurous electro-dub or techno producer in a remixing mood, and several showed up to contribute to this exciting collection. There are two mixes of "The Gold," one a brilliant jungle-dub mix by Wrongtom and Maxwell Bruck and the other a subtler and prettier interpretation by the Canadian reggae producer Dubmatrix. Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo contributes a chugging, electro-rock take on "Push Some Air," and GoldieLocks and Synth Girl team up on a reggaeton mix of "Give Yourself Over." The program closes with an excellent live recording of "Struggling," a new song that has yet to appear on a John Brown's Body album but that harks back explicitly to the band's earlier, rootsier sound. This may not be an essential addition to every reggae collection, but no John Brown's Body fan will want to be without it.

Customer Reviews

New, Amazing Spins on Songs that I Thought Couldn't Get Better...

From GoldieLocks to a touch of Gym Class Heroes, this Album takes John Brown's Body to new heights. Having been exposed to their music for many years, I feel like I've taken them for granted, only having a set idea of what their sound "was." But Amplify gave me a wonderful surprise and Re-Amplify blew me away. Amazing albums.

The Worst Release

I absolutely love this band, but this album really disappointed me. Their sound in this album has gone completely mainstream. If you want a 5-star cd to listen to, buy any one of their other albums. The only good song on this cd is Struggling, which is a GREAT song.

JBB expands reggae as a genre and Re-Amplify expands JBB.

Over the bands long career I have never even heard of any JBB remixes so I was especially excited for this record. It would have been easy for RE-AMPLIFY to be a dub-b-side EP, and that is what I expected. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to find a diverse expanding set of true remixes. It took 2 listens for me to "get" the GoldieLocks remix of "Give Yourself Over", because the original song was one of my most loved tracks from AMPLIFY. Once absorbed the initial challenge of her new wave British-grime style became easily the most-"fun" track on this record. I think she was the right fit for the song. Blue King Brown, Dubmatix, and the new JBB live tracks are instantly embraceable. The mixes are great, and even if the Tommie Sunshine and Gym Class Heroes remix are not what I think of as "classic" JBB, I approve because they push my musical boundaries. Just like JBB has expanded reggae as a genre, Re-Amplify expands JBB. I hope the band works with a few of these producers on their next studio record.


Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s

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,...
Full Bio
Re-Amplify, John Brown's Body
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Customer Ratings