Chronixx: Chronology review – joyous reggae: forget your troubles and skank

(Virgin EMI)

Although reggae is not as ubiquitous in the charts as it was in the 1970s and 80s, recently it’s enjoyed an upsurge as an element of mainstream pop. And 24-year-old Kingston singer Jamar McNaughton – Chronixx – is making it a chart force again by itself. Already a US smash, his long-awaited debut fuses old-school roots and lover’s rock with contemporary dancehall, rap, R&B and EDM, but this is essentially a celebratory pop album. The likes of Big Bad Sound and Smile Jamaica mix dub basslines with sunny, anthemic tunes. There’s nothing as politically hard-hitting as 2014’s anti-colonial Capture Land, but Black Is Beautiful, Ghetto Paradise and Selassie Children address racism, Jamaican poverty and religious persecution. I Can is bittersweet and Loneliness more downbeat, but otherwise his joyous, syrupy tones and positive vibes make Chronology an uplifting listen. As he puts it in the glorious Skankin’ Sweet: “For every pain there’s a melody … Forget your troubles and rock with me.”

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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