In late 1980s England, Ska wasn’t quite in fashion as it had been earlier in the decade; with the advent of rap, hip-hop, and underground dance–all of which would build upon Ska’s rhythmic patterns and vocal styling. This, however, did not stop the multiracial, multi-culti band Maroon Town,named after clandestine villages set up by anti-British rebels in occupied Jamaica. Though rooted in the hybrid formula concocted by Two-Tone, High and Dry, Maroon Town’s debut, is an exciting, thrilling collection of fresh sounds–as well as just being downright, well..fun! With two energetic singers, Stevie B–a vocal dead ringer for Michael Franti, who would also find success with a similar style–and female counterpoint Carolyn McCookweir, t’s extremely difficult to not be caught up in their showmanship. Songs like “Fire” and “Nostalgia” are terrific and catchy as hell, while the political edge is never shied away from, either: “Pound to the Dollar” and “Thatcher’s Children” are edgy takes on the politics of the day, while McCookweir’s empowerment anthem “Women Say No” is a song that is as equally relevant today as it was 20 years ago. High and Dry is a fun, exciting debut record; Maroon Town continue to this day, and are a popular concert draw in Europe. It’s easy to understand why; the seeds planted here blossomed into a truly great band.
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