Steel Pulse

Earth Crisis album review

Jack Barron in Sounds

31 March 1984

* * *

Can't figure out Steel Pulse's strategy at all.

They'be been out of the running a long time in the UK. But feedback about the band's international success in islands as culturally contrasting as Japan and Jamaica seemed to bode well for their return to record.

Th cover is agitprop cut-up style, Reagan, the Pope, Andropov (!), the Klan, sorrowful-eyed starving kids etc, in ironic juxtaposition. Together with the title, it seems to warn of serious experiences in the grooves.

Only a couple of senile songs among the expected litany of social concerns, true, but surely there are less hack ways of celebrating the joys of reggae and relationships?

Still, the vinyl might actually sound good. And indeed - vocoder apart - it often does in a way. Digitally recorded, terribly impressive hi-tech surrounds with melodically sophisticated tunes occasionally veering towards the soft funk scale.

But not a single song would disturb the vapid American and English airwaves. Maybe that's their plan; subvert through sugar-coating; there again won't the sleeve alienate producers? Lamely likeable.

Text copyright Sounds 1984, used without permission.

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