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Album Review

Fine Incense

By John Masouri

It’s been seven years since Abelwell’s debut album Talk About It, since when the West Midlands’ band has polished their traditional reggae and lovers’ rock sound and travelled to places like Jamaica and the Gambia.

Their avowed aim is to promote “love for all, regardless of race, colour and gender.” They achieve this handsomely, irrespective of which brother is singing – lead vocals being shared between Andrew [“Toppa G”] and Peter [“Peter Vibes”] McGregor, who also write most of the lyrics. The majority of their songs are about romance mixed in with a little reality, whilst the rhythm tracks bring back memories of an era when Studio One ruled the dancehalls, along with roots and rub-a-dub sides. Real instruments – including horns on certain tracks – predominate. This guarantees warmth, as well as light and shade. The sound is unmistakably British [and of late Seventies’ vintage], but suffused with enough feel and craft to win over most listeners of a certain age, who’ll appreciate the quality of songs and musicianship, as well as the vocals.

Peter sounds uncannily like Slim Smith on In The Sunshine, and then Nereus Joseph at other times. He’s impressive throughout and especially on songs like Long Time Coming, You Are All and former single Who Feels It Knows It, which is the band’s masterpiece. Toppa G, who often duets with his brother, shows his worth on Silent Moment, Tell It To Jah and the title track. He then switches to more of a dancehall flow for African Girl, the swinging ska number Life and Mercy, co-starring female singer Sandawana. Bob Marley fans shouldn’t miss More Than, voiced on a cut of Waiting In Vain, or this easy skanking version of Marley’s Forever Loving Jah. There’s no shortage of other highlights scattered among these seventeen tracks – not least the unforgettable Who Feels It Knows It.

 

ECHOES MAGAZINE 35TH Anniversary Issue

John Masouri Sees History Repeating Itself.
ABELWELL – Who Feels It Knows It (Don’t Push), Fine Incense (Don’t Push) and African Girl (Don’t Push)


Wolverhampton band Abelwell Foundation deliver original roots and lovers in the classic reggae style and if these three tracks are anything to go by, their forthcoming album Fine Incense will prove a timely reminder of the reggae talent still deserving of their chance to shine.

The title track, led by singer Peter Vibe, is delightful. Ocho Rios based producer Barry O’Hare had a hand in Who Feels It Knows It – a struggler’s lament, but deeply moving and uplifting – whilst African Girl harks back to the days when Sugar Minott was king of the dancehall rub-a-dub.

 

Radio Review

David Rodigan Kiss FM/Radio 2 plays Abelwell

NamePlaySize Length
Rodigan2

4.6 MB5:00 min
RodiganPlaysAbelwell

4.1 MB4:28 min
Sound1

3.4 MB3:41 min

 

Trevor Nelson BBC Radio 1 and MTV
Trever Nelson
“These singer/songwriters are good; their album Talk About It is very melodic. Their sound will appeal to a wide audience – Good Reggae.”


 

Chris Goldfinger BBC Radio 1 and MTV
Chris Goldfinger
“A very enjoyable album. I particularly like the roots tracks, a vibe that is authentic.”

 

Ben Turner BBC Radio WM B’ham
ben_turner
“This band has serious potentials. It is very rare that I hear so much quality on a debut album. Abelwell should be on the international stage.”

 

Don Angelo Vibe FM London
Don Angelo
“This UK production is excellent and their vocals are unique and tight.”

 

Russell Myrie The Voice Magazine
Russell Myrie
“This Album opens with a declaration signaling the arrival of Abelwell Foundation. Thankfully, the Singer/songwriter musician’s back their chat with melodic creations such as Don’t Push and Alive. Audience empathy is sustained on a set which is principally a celebration of normality. Abelwell take ordinary life experiences like having a thing for someone and poetically mould them into energetic reggae based floetry. Whether it’s moving side-to-side or the grimiest winding positions, all 12 tracks enter your body and provoke your limbs to flow with the continuous beat and lyrical expression. With tunes ranging from sure big-people favorites to more modern sounding riddims, this album will be enjoyed by a wide cross-section of reggae enthusiasts. 3.5/5”

 


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