This originally ran in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 1994.
Steel Pulse is back with a vengeance. "Vex," their tenth release (and fourth on
MCA) is a powerful recording full of engaging rhythms and conscious lyrics.
Following the opening track, an excellent collaboration with DJ Tony Rebel called
"Bootstraps," "Back To My Roots" sets the stage for the re-emergence of this popular
British reggae band.
This outstanding cut contains insightful lyrics from leader David Hinds:
that commercial road, searching for some fame and gold,
and gained the whole wide
world, and almost lost our souls.
Some say we should have led the way, taken over from
so here's my promise to everyone, I'll serve the sufferer's from this day
it's time to go back...to my roots."
And go back to his roots he does. The 12 tunes on "Vex" are well-crafted fusions
of pop, American and Jamaican rap and modern reggae with sincere messages. Each track
has infectious hooks with standout cuts being "Islands Unite," "In My Life," "New World
Order," No Justice No Peace" and the above-mentioned "Bootstraps" and "Back To My
Roots" (there are also two dubs, including "Dub To My Roots").
From the foreboding cover art to the exceptional self-produced sound, this is an
excellent package. Check it out for yourself and see why "Vex" is one of the year's best
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