I’m not going to try and pull one over anyone, so I’ll be upfront with you on this one. I’m not, and have never, been into reggae. I’ve just never gotten into it, maybe I’m too uptight or neurotic and my mind simply can’t get in line with the easygoing rhythms. Yes, of course, I know the words to “No Woman, No Cry” and the rest of Bob Marley’s greatest hits. Hell, I even bought that Nas and Damian Marley album five years ago. With that being said, I understand why people like real reggae and dancehall, not that nonsense you’re forced to listen to on a cruise; but it’s just not my thing. Maybe my aversion to reggae stems from the upper middleclass kids I grew up with who had Bob Marley tapestries in their rooms, Rasta flag bumper stickers on their cars and those lovely, fragrant blonde dreads.
But enough of airing my grievances… When I was sent an early copy of The Frightnrs’ new EP Inna Lovers Quarrel, I was a little skeptical. A Queens reggae band on the predominantly EDM label, Mad Decent? What could possibly go wrong? As it sat in my inbox for a couple of hours, skepticism turned to curiosity, and I finally hit play. As I slipped my headphones on, I couldn’t help myself, I was actually nodding along and enjoying it. After a couple of listens, I even caught myself singing along and doing some upper body-only dancing in my seat.
There’s a bit of EDM that pops up in a couple of tracks, maybe it’s a contractual obligation with their label, maybe they’re just trying to bridge genres, but the electronic sounds aren’t particularly jarring and they don’t seem forced. They fit with the authentic reggae grooves. After a few listens you even cease to hear the laser sounds. In all seriousness though, I could try and feign technical knowledge of reggae, dancehall and rocksteady but that’s what Pitchfork is for. I’m not a formal critic; therefore all I can do is give you my honest opinion of how I feel about Inna Lovers Quarrel as a fan of music.
All of that nonsense I wrote can be summed up with: I dig it. For me, a true testament of a good work of art is whether or not it makes me change my preconceptions. At first sight, I didn’t even want to listen to this, I did, and I’m better off for it. No, it wasn’t Earth-shattering for me, but it made it past my reggae firewall and onto my audio rotation for the week and beyond.
Like I tend to end these things, go and check it out. It’s an EP, just six tracks, I think you can squeeze it into your “busy” day. If you hate it, I won’t be offended and at most, you may have wasted 24 minutes of your time. If you like it, you’re welcome, gifts and flowers can be sent to….
By: Roberto Henry, Music Contributor.