February 23rd saw the release of America’s New Kingston’s third studio full length offering, Kingston City. The reggae brotherhood have already worked up a substantial name for themselves in their hometown of Brooklyn, and across the country, and 2015 is sure to push their reputation further around the globe. Following the storming success of the 2013 offering, Kingston University, the outfit have refined their sound to incorporate modern reggae influences laced among their old-school style.
The twelve track offering is dotted with more than its fair share of featured artists, with almost half the record featuring guest work from some major names in the scene. After opening ska-edged Today, a fun and optimistic commencement to the album, comes Mystery Babylon, featuring Tribal Seeds vocalists Maad T Ray and E.N Young, winding together with an intricate backing to create a song as stand out as every other off the release.
The next guest appearance comes in the form of Kimie Miner’s vocals gracing sixth track, You Are Mine. Heartfelt and romantic, the two vocal styles blend together perfectly with a mellowed out backing to forge a real summer anthem and feel-good vibe throughout it. Protect Me sees the album feature Grammy-nominated reggae vocal group The Wailing Souls, establishing the track with harmonies so sublime they almost sound unreal; it’s apparent New Kingston know just how to work perfectly with some famous accolades.
Late, great Sugar Minott features on ninth Certain Girls, another notch in the belt that New Kingston are sure to be proud of, with the last special guest being Sister Carol on closing Conquer Dem, an anti-materialist anthem speaking of the controlling power of money. Person favourite off the release comes in the form of fifth Honourable, a stay-true-to-your-honour laid back song that sidesteps cliches and feels as fresh as the genre itself.
Kingston City touches on both sides of the personal and political line, mastering each as well as the other. There’s something so slick about the record, the confidence it exudes and passion poured into the vocals making every song a stand out and as fun and addictive as the last. For fans of the likes of New Town Kings, this record is one you’ll want to be checking out.