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Album Review: Easy Star All-Stars - Thrillah

24 August 2012 | 3:17 pm | Lynn McDonnell

This album would be best played live, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, at a summer music festival, where respect for reggae is usually at its best.

This fourth tribute album from Easy Star All-Stars honours one of pop's most renowned and worshiped act, Michael Jackson, in the form of a unique reggae take on Thriller. An album that originally won eight Grammy Awards and is still selling hundreds of thousands of copies a year since its release in 1984 is no mean feat to reproduce.

Despite the magnitude of this project, the 'All-Stars succeed in reformatting the pop grooves already in place and enable their renowned reggae beats to underpin the whole album. There is no doubt that reggae fans will be pleased with this interpretation of one of pop's most famous recordings but pop fans may find themselves in a sense of confusion on the dancefloor as their moonwalks are forced into soft sways and slow head bounces.

The album starts off smoothly with a bang of horns for a transformed Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'. What continues to emerge from the rest of this album is a deep respect for the original production as the main structures and lyrics are rarely changed and when they are it is done in an elegant and non-indulgent fashion. Thriller itself starts in a manner reminiscent of Massive Attack's Bluelines and is one of the big surprises of the album as it contains any possible explosion and holds on to its laid-back theme. The lyrics seem more pronounced and as a result emerge a little disjointed against the new musical structure.

This album would be best played live, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, at a summer music festival, where respect for reggae is usually at its best.

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