From Come Fi Conquer and Springline Jamaica Recordings comes another fine release, this time featuring the melodic reggae sounds of Steve Steppa on a new 11-track album (available on DDL and CD). It begins with ‘Another Morning’, kicking off with a slow drum intro before going into the classic roots sounds of percussive keyboard and gentle reggae rhythm. ‘Don’t You Vex’ has a lilting musical style which is more akin to lovers’ rock and its predecessor rhythms and introduces some intriguing vocal manipulation that makes itself known on other tracks too. A couple of tracks are accompanied by good old-school ‘versions’ – ‘Version Tree’ in particular standing as a tight rhythm track with Steve Steppa on melodica over the top of the original backing track. ‘Version Zone’ is a serious dub, while the curious concept of ‘Urban Camping’ introduces an atmospheric keyboard sound to a brooding melody. The album closes with a delightful ‘Zion Door’, sounding very much like something from the dawn of reggae, with a structure suggesting the earliest influences of mento and calypso. With excellent production from Gibsy Rhodes throughout, this is new reggae in the old tradition with an influence from classic-era soul, and nothing wrong with that combination at all.
Steve Steppa: Zion Door, release November 5th, Roots Lab Intl