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Mission In Progress of Morgan Heritage

Mission In Progress of Morgan Heritage

Mission In Progress of Morgan Heritage

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The Morgan Heritage family is back with its new album largely self produced. A blend of roots, soft rock and hip-hop soul.

Sampler

Morgan Heritage - Mission In ProgressThough their live shows and singles remain excellent, recent albums by Morgan Heritage have been patchy affairs. The quintet’s fan-base may be as die-hard as ever, but a tendency towards artificially sweetened hooks, tepid religious sentiments and “MTV” musical styles has blurred the line between experimentation and dilution.

Mission In Progress, their new, largely self-produced set for VP, puts them back on track. It doesn’t do anything radically different from previous efforts - still blending roots with pop, soft-rock, and hip-hop-soul - it just does it better.

Where 2005’s Full Circle felt restrained and imperious, Progress crackles with taut, crisp energy: all crunchy guitars, hard drum-beats and extrovert attitude. From the muscular funk-rock of ‘Cross Wi Borda’ and ‘12 Shotz’ to the breezier vibes of ‘Nothing To Smile About’, the arrangements are fulsome without being overblown, while Peter Morgan’s lead tenor has a little more spark and bite.

Even relationship songs like ‘Love You Right’ and ‘Faithful’ sound forthright and emotionally honest, based around concise couplets (“I know our love with never die, the way the Titanic took a dive” and the unusually submissive “When the playing is done, a woman’s victory’s won”). Political tunes such as ‘Brooklyn & Jamaica’ (on the Statement rhythm) and ‘Headline’ (on the diamond-edged DST) are active rather than passive in their condemnation, in contrast to Full Circle’s catchy but whiny ‘Tell Me How Come’.

It’s telling that the Morgans have covered Steel Pulse’s ‘Raid Blues Dance’; having a natural affinity with a group who are quintessentially reggae yet attempted to break from its confines with varying degrees of success. Where some of this record’s hip hop elements sound ordinary and a little dated, its pop, reggae and r&b engines fire on all cylinders - working together like never before.

Those who don’t appreciate the Heritage approach are unlikely to take to it now. What matters is they’ve done what they set out to - create a commercial reggae album where every song sounds like a hit. It’s been a year for returns to form by major artists and this is another. An essential purchase for the group’s followers that should attract more into the fold.

Morgan Heritage

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