Canada-based singer/songwriter Herrington Codner released his intriguing reggae-rock crossover album ‘Real’ earlier in the year; intriguing in the sense that it combined rock band instrumentation of a sometimes 70s vintage with reggae rhythms in a vital urban sound that isn’t easily identifiable with any other current bands. And all the better for that – the backwards-effect guitars on the title track of ‘Real’ and the reverb-heavy guitar-led ‘Hero’ make for an effective sound. ‘Justice for Freedom’ from the album is now scheduled for release as a single. It consists of a sharp guitar figure taking us into a powerful reggae rhythm, together with strong vocals around themes of justice and freedom; rock band guitar work around a simple but effective reggae song. It has a clear production and a clean mix unencumbered by effects and studio trickery, generating a live band sort of feel. It’s a world away from the contemporary European emphasis on studio-based digital reconstruction/deconstruction of reggae rhythms.
Summing up Herrington Codner’s overall musical niche isn’t too easy. Some of the tracks on the album are rock songs unrelated to reggae rhythms at all, as though Little Feat might have accidentally found themselves propelled forward in time a decade or two and been subjected willingly or otherwise to some unexpected influences but retaining a vintage feel all the same: Herrington Codner himself terms his musical style ‘ragwire’. The single release of ‘Justice for Freedom’ doesn’t seem particularly typical of all his output, but it is worth hearing as a strong reggae song in its own right as well as a fine introduction to Herrington Codner’s music.
Herrington Codner: ‘Justice for Freedom’ released 25th November 2013, Center Lane Records