On initial hearing this new album gives the impression of likeable pop-reggae but another listen convinces that there’s a lot more to it. The album draws from a range of genres to produce something that is certainly worthy of your attention. It appears that Ed Sheeran is a big fan but don’t let that put you off. It’s thoughtful soul-influenced reggae – quite original in the UK context.
This is the second album from Bristol-based Laid Blak where founder member MC Joe Peng and other contributors were gathered together by DJ Bunjy. The opening track, ‘Cool Dude’, is uptempo reggae in a familiar style, but things get more interesting with ‘It’s a Pity’ (featuring Tanya Lacey) – the initial single release from the album – with a melodica-sounding backing and solid rhythm. ‘Hold On’ (again featuring Tanya Lacey) amounts to a funk/soul outing and it’s fair to say that the album gets better as it goes on. ‘Serious’ (featuring Tanya Lacey and MC Dee) is a strong track with a dubstep-ish bass line and an authentic feel. ‘War’ sounds like a classic track, with a slow brooding introduction before it gets into its reggae stride and indeed a rock guitar solo. It would be possible to imagine Bob Marley singing this – which is quite a compliment to Laid Blak with this powerful and affecting album.
Laid Blak ‘About Time’ released on limited-edition clear vinyl, August 2019, via Sugar Shack Records