Caught You - album review

Paul Tickell in Melody Maker

14 June 1980

Steel Pulse and David Hinds on stage.

Steel Pulse have always managed to get feet tapping but never with a lot of conviction. Their arrangements have been neat rather than tight, resulting in reggae which is appropriate to the kind of summer's day when even ears are lazy.

Caught You has that now customary lightness. The most summery track is Shining, on which the keyboards/synth have the band moving into Third World territory, and suffering by comparison. The main difference in emphasis from their two previous albums is the love interest running through tracks like Rumours and Caught You Dancing. Lyrically, these songs are as banal as Drug Squad and other anti-Babylon material on the album. Much the same could be said about Reggae Fever, an uplift piece. However, another song in this vein, Higher Than High, is a standout: the choral effect and delicate acoustic guitar punctuations unite to transform lightness into a virtue. Usually with Pulse, it's a vice - a second-best, diluted heaviness.

So, frequently, the band sound like they are fixatedly influenced by Marley in his soft phase with Rastaman Vibration.

Reggae is genuinely ambient music. But with Steel Pulse, it's mere background, where the syncopations are performed on the ebb and fade, and the musical temperature so low that turning up the volume makes little difference.

Text copyright Melody Maker 1980, used without permission.

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