11 ago. 2015

Chronixx review: God save the Queen from reggae's rising star

Jamaican singer ups the ante with his infectious music that includes a withering but tuneful assault on British colonialism.

"Reggae music is coming back," yells the man introducing 22-year-old Jamaican Jamar McNaughton Jr, aka Chronixx. After becoming a huge part of the global mainstream between 1972 and 1981, Rastafarian musical culture suffered a hammer blow with Bob Marley's death, but it has never really gone away. Still, it's been a while since a new young Jamaican star packed a mainstream venue like this one, with the waving red-green-and-gold flags reminiscent of the time Gregory Isaacs played here in the 90s.

Chronixx has been tipped by Diplo and Marley's old label boss, Chris Blackwell, and it's easy to see why. The dreadlocked son of singer Chronicle skips, dances and shadowboxes like a natural. His music is steeped in the old school -Black Uhuru's rootsy reggae crossed with lover's rock- but has more modern elements such as dancehall: more Damian Marley than Bob.

A subtle pop sheen doesn't shroud lyrics that hit as hard as anything in the genre. "Here comes the thieving Queen from England," Chronixx spits in Capture Land's withering but tuneful assault on British colonialism, just in case Her Maj was considering having him round for tea. Between songs, he explains that "We as artists are messengers for the voiceless." Such admirable motivations don't prevent him turning in a killer pop single, Here Comes Trouble, a horn-driven cracker about recruiting soldiers for Jah's army which gets every hand in the house waving from side to side. The gig never quite reaches such heights again, despite the sweet-voiced star remaining on stage until the bars have closed and staff start panicking about the curfew. His enthusiasm for singing is obvious and infectious, and if his next set can further up the ante, he's going to be hard to stop.

Source: theguardian.com