John Brown's Body
(Easy Star)
This oddly dubbed band (named for a 19th-century American abolitionist) came together through a meeting of members from Boston and upstate New York. Singer and co-producer Elliott Martin, who went through throat surgery prior to making this album, brings a classic-sounding voice---a higher tenor carrying passion and urgency to the tracks---to bear on this contemporary reggae outfit, especially uptempo songs such as "Push Some Air" or "Shake the Dice." It sounds like his gig. Pop and hip-hop aspects of the band often outweigh the reggae, which are sometimes relegated to accents or motifs. Adjust expectations.
---Sean Flinn

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