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No 1 Station - Boss Beat

No 1 Station - Boss Beat

No 1 Station - Boss Beat

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This highly touted ska band have an eye on the charts.

Sampler

Boss BeatAfter the late eighties influenced eclecticism of Mungo’s Hi Fi, the latest release on Pama International’s Rockers Revolt label might suggest a return to safe ground. But there’s more to new signing No 1 Station’s project than first meets the ear.

Formed by one time Lee Perry collaborator Sir Marcus Downbeat back in 2001, No 1 Station join the swelling ranks of the Goldmaster All Stars, The Slackers, The Ska Flames and The Top Cats as modern day exponents of the ska. They’ve already garnered praise from UK scene champion and TV and radio personality Marc Lamarr, and have even galvanised the seminal Blue Beat brand into putting out their 45s.

Their third album Boss Beat is a mix of instrumental drills – minor key opener Air Strip One, a recut of Johnny Moore’s South China Sea called Jackie Chan, the unstoppable skinhead reggae of the title track – with in-house and guest vocal sides. These include Stop The Fighting’s fiddling roots, Persia’s sublime You Wanna Get Busy With Me, and three songs (Best Friend, Friday Night and the Ken Boothe/Phil Pratt Artibella-based Player Hater) featuring the very Kate Nash like Ms Moretti (no offence intended).

This pop flavour to the record is clearly there by design, suggesting Number 1 Station and co have ambitions beyond impressing ska scene purists, perhaps bridging the gap between the reggae-latté of Lily Allen and the genuine article. At times their blatant commercialism may grate, particularly during spry accordion led “Cajun Ska” ditty Jiggy Reggae, but, like the music of Allen and Natty, carries the-get-out-of-jail-free-card that it could introduce a whole lot of people to the idea – if not the reality – of Jamaican sounds.

For Rockers Revolt’s traditional nostalgic target audience, Boss Beat may lack the consistency of earlier releases. But as today’s Jamaican producers are showing, pop needn’t be a dirty word, and there are enough likeable tracks on this disc to make owning it worthwhile.

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