Babylon The Bandit album review

Dave Hill in Record Mirror

1 March 1986

With perfect timing, given the present wave of interest in the first generation punks they so often accompanied on stage, the prophetic revoluntionaries of Handsworth return to a world seemingly more empty of decent reggae music than ever.

In such a depressing context, this curate's egg of an album is welcome enough, though more often for its aims than for its execution. Actually, one of the highlights is the cover which represents a variety of historical and contemporary items which the West has thieved from Africa (for instance, pyramids and the lion on a 10p piece, respectively) - hence the title.

In the gooves, meanwhile, the main point is that Pulse have employed a lot of new technology. In theory the resultant bongs, splurges and synthetic fillings represent progress, though personally I find they sit awkwardly with both the enduring sweetness of the vocal style and the rather quaint patriachal postures the Brummie boys still slump into.

All in all, Babylon The Bandit is a nice try at combining commercial sentiment and Jah politics for the modern age. But, ironically, given that the truths it deals in are now truer than ever, the whole thing sounds like it's struggling to keep up with the times.

Text copyright Record Mirror 1986, used without permission.

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