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Pama International Debut Album Re-released

Pama International Debut Album Re-released

Pama International Debut Album Re-released

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Soul-induced ska, rocksteady and reggae from one of the UK’s Premier Outfits.

Sampler

Pama International are a UK band whose self titled debut from 2002 has recently been re-released. Their sound is a mixture of soul-induced ska, rocksteady and reggae, which is performed by a rather fluid cast that has included members of Steel Pulse, Galliano, Pop Will Eat Itself, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Style Council, Big Boss Man, UK skasters The Loafers, Special Beat, Intensified and Ska Cubano. This eclectic blend of personnel and sounds does tend to make the band something of an acquired taste that can find reggae fans accusing them of being to soulful and soul fans finding them to reggae, but I for one really enjoy this mix. Production on this debut is edgier than and not as polished as their more recent releases (they are now up to seven) and this gives the album something of a live feel.

Things get under way with the drum and bass booming, dubby 'Life Circus' with bursts of shimmering keyboard punctuating this dark backdrop. The song also lyrically displays Pama's astute ability to focus on current social issues of inner city deprivation, crime and general feeling of frustration at lack of opportunities for young people, a theme that is revisited with the latin feeling, but still heavily Marvin Gaye inspired, 'What's Going On?'. 'I Love You Too Much To Ever Stop Lying' also highlights a slightly dark side that can come from Pama with a an upbeat, bustling ska pop musical score hiding lyrics that tell a story of pleasure and satisfaction taken in getting away with deception in a relationship.

Now this perhaps makes Pama sound quite morbid and intense but they are not, as the songs such as 'Truly Madly Deeply' display a softer side and their party vibe ethic, on this joyful ska fuelled, brass blazing, pleading love song, while ‘You Make Me High’ is as bright as a summers day and ‘Love We Give’ is sweet laid back lovers rock.

As said at the beginning of the review Pama have a soulful side as well which is found in the joyousness of sixties Stax, styled soul stomper 'Thank You'. Also there is a brave cover of Sly Stone classic and one of my favourite tunes of all time.’If You Want Me To Stay'. They haven't deviated far from the original which was most probably a wise decision and they've turned out a more than admirable rendition.

As is often the case with re-releases Pama International comes with a selection of bonus tracks that did not originally appear on its first outing and these come in the shape of some G-Corp remixes of the Rocksteady ‘Second Chance’, brooding ‘Earthquake’ and the enhancement of ‘Evening Time’, a song that really didn’t do anything for me in its original mix but here with a few subtle touches has been brought to new found life.

All in all Pama are not a band that are going to have the die hard roots and dancehall fans clamouring for more if any, but for fans of reggae who have varied tastes in other areas of the music world then why not give them ago. They are a band who over the past 8 years since this albums initial release have remained true to what they believe in and have stuck to a predominantly reggae style when perhaps it may have been easier to follow a more soulful root to find greater acceptance and success here in England. It is because of this, as well as the quality music they have produced that I have a lot of time for them and why I feel more people should be opened up to the world of Pama International.

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