Forget everything you thought you knew about Jeep MacNichol.
Forget about the lightly reggae influenced Sting-like grooves
that he used to lay down as a founding member of The Samples.
Forget the brilliant pop record he released as a solo artist before
leaving the Samples to disappear into what we all believed to be obscurity.
Forget the notion that Jeep was relegated to a list of former drummers
that were never to surface again.
Instead, realize the fact that Jeep is not only alive and well, but
making music that transcends everything he's ever been involved in
up until now. With the release of Mr. Anonymous, Jeep has gathered
together a stellar cast of international artists to help him create
a record of intense beauty and strength. The musical focus is on dub
and heavy reggae, with some amazing tracks crossing over into what
I would term trance dancehall. One such track kicks off the record,
the eponymous "Mr. Anonymous". The song features some fine
acoustic guitar that leads into a thick slow breakbeat underscoring
some fine rapping by Cutty Ranks and Dr. Innocent that
keenly offset Jeep's vocals. Listen to this song even if you don't
make it any further on the record, but I promise you that you are
going to want more. Jeep plays most instruments on the entire record,
wrote most of the songs (some co-written by guest artists), and sings
on just about everything to complement his selection of guest voices.
"Shylean" is a rocksteady track with some thick rapping
by Bounty Killer. The track is groovy, with a near industrial
vibe that balances the vocals of Danny English and Turbulence
and has tons of bass, for you bass thumpers. "Good Vibe"
was co-wrtten by, and features vocals by Michael Rose and Dave
Wakeling. It's a great pleasure to hear Wakeling's voice again
after so many years of relative obscurity. The track is a perfect
summer day song, with light guitars and a tripping beat that is sure
to get your toe tapping and clear the cobwebs out of your head.
"Swing" features beautifully choreographed vocals by Barrington
Levy and Frankie Paul over a lo-fi swing rhythm and mighty
fine turntable work by DJ Psychonaut, who appears quite a bit
on the record. Brando shines on "Bring The Youth",
as he not only wrote the lyrics, but also performs them all on a slightly
atmospheric background of ethnic percussion and chiming synthesizers.
Be certain to listen to "Get Ready" for a taste of the rhythm
and shine that Jeep has proven himself capable of producing over and
over again. "Always" features the indomitable Robbie
Shakespeare on the groovy bass guitar that floats delightfully
over a lighter dancehall groove and some great Djing by Danny English
and Brando. The vocals carry the song to the next musical layer of
Nirvana, sharply melodic and wholly captivating.
Whether you are interested to know what Jeep has been up to, or if
you simply want to hear some of the finest new crop of reggae mix-ups,
Mr. Anonymous is a must hear album. The production is stellar,
clean and fresh, yet complex and ever-changing. Jeep's songwriting
has matured far beyond what I would have expected from him, and the
collaborations lend even more credence to his own unique voice. This
is great music, for people who want summer to last forever. Now where
did I leave my black skinny tie and checkerboard Vans?
1. Mr. Anonymous
4. Good Vibe
5. Harmony Bus
7. Bring The Youth
9. Get Ready
10. Player Hater
12. Shylean/ Party Tonight Remix
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