Reggae has struggled to reinvent itself in the modern era, with the best of it being more nostalgic – that is until now with London-based collective Shanty putting a remarkably fresh face on things.
The band are due to release their new EP ‘Strange Little Human on March 24 – and it blends reggae with grime providing a fresh and contagious sound.
The release shows a darker and more mature side to the group following their 2016 sun-kissed and infectious debut EP ‘Leave Me Out’.
With ‘Strange Little Human’, Shanty – fronted by grime MC Levi Gordon and vocalist Benjamin Willis – present a body of work that comments on the struggle of the mundanities of minimum wage jobs, love, loss and anxiousness that many people have to navigate through in their daily lives.
Kicking off the EP is ‘Pressure’; a direct commentary on the strain we face working and living in a drab, stagnant environment, “life burns slowly, problems growing, inside this pressure cooker do you feel alive?”
The track takes on a traditional reggae sound, full of triumphant horn fanfares, a bright, choppy guitar and catchy vocal hooks.
We are first introduced to Levi Gordon on ‘Crossfire’, where he pays homage to grime heavyweights Kano and JME as he raps “I’ve been on my P’s and Q’s before I knew my ABC’s”.
His inherent poetic talent and natural flow is laced throughout the EP, particularly on the current single ‘Happy To Be Sad’, where feelings of melancholy and joy run in unison over a shimmering guitar and a driven beat, reflecting on the bittersweet memories of past relationships.
Shanty take a political stance on ‘Nowhere Nowhere’, delving into the struggles faced when feeling stuck and lacking progression in life before closing the EP with the title track; a marrying of the laid-back Caribbean rhythm and energetic London culture which tackles the ups and downs of living with depression and anxiety.
Kicking off with a lively Hammond Organ and buoyant drum beat, the track ebbs and flows in tempo, almost personifying the lyrical content where we hear the versatility and range of Willis’ stunning vocals.
Well worth giving these guys a listen if you haven’t already.