The Archives: ESL Delivers Once Again on Recently Released Reggae Project
The Archives represent one of the latest projects of D.C.'s own Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) record label, which stars Thievery Corporation vocalist, Ras Puma. The self-titled debut album, which was released on July 11, showcases the diverse sounds and rhythms found in the reggae genre. The classic sounds of roots reggae, rocksteady, early dub, and dancehall are fused with modern touches that make this album accessible to reggae listeners across various generations. Naturally, the combination of such musical elements make the album very danceable, and a pleasant listening treat from beginning to end. What's more, the strong socially conscious messages that are found in The Archives and ESL Music at large, is applicable to both traditional roots reggae messages, but also represents current political, financial, and social issues. The album is brilliantly produced by Eric Hilton, who demonstrates his inherent understanding of foundation reggae.
ESL Music continues to excel in fusing classic and authentic sounds with modern technologies and messages. The album is a spot on collaboration of musicians and strong vocalists. Ras Puma has rightfully earned the spotlight on the album, as he delivers smooth, fine-tuned, and beautiful vocals in every phrase. What is refreshing about the ESL newcomer is that aside from being naturally talented, Ras Puma sings every song with undeniable emotion. The album begins with the upbeat track "Who's Correct," a song with heavy messages of religious tolerance. Lenny Kurlou is featured on vocals alongside Ras Puma on "Ghetto Gone Uptown," a track that offers both romantic rocksteady rhythms and a conscious look at this country's economic hardship. Justin Parrot's heavy and rootsy basslines hit hard on "More To Life" which compliments Mateo Monk's rich guitar solo, and Leslie James Jr.'s steady, yet laid-back drumming.
In many ways, whether intentional or not, the album pays homage to other reggae greats. For instance, Mateo Monk's incorporation of the melodica throughout the album calls to mind the legendary Augustus Pablo, especially in "Melodica Funk." "Boof Baff" features the undeniable Sister Nancy-like style of Ichelle Cole. Even Jamaican toaster Sleepy Wonder evoked a bit of Michael Rose in his vocal stylings on the track "Music is My Prayer." The album closes with an amazing version of "Blasting Through The City," a track originally featured on Thievery Corporation's album "Radio Retaliation" with Notch as the vocalist. However, Ras Puma adds a new flavor with his vocal flair on the Caribbean sounding rendition, offering a very strong finish to the album. All in all, the collaborative efforts on The Archives reflect the solid foundation of reggae, while elevating the genre with fresh, talented artists and modern musical elements.
The Archives album is available now on Amazon.com
.Click here for more information about the Archives, as well other musical projects on the ESL label.