Here’s a thing – I was never into NIRVANA. Just couldn’t get the whole grunge thing at all. Does that make me a bad person?
I am however, big on my reggae music.
Both the above then go to make this album a really interesting listen. See, with this year being the twentieth anniversary of the release of ‘Nevermind,’ UK producer Prince Fatty in collaboration with Mutant Hi-Fi thought it a good idea to sort out an album of Nirvana covers, all done in a reggae style.
Having worked with LITTLE ROY for a long time, Prince Fatty reckoned the Jamaican vocalist who in turn had played with some of reggae’s megastars (try Prince Buster, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh for starters) would be ideal for the vocal duties.
So this is it – ‘Battle For Seattle’ is a compilation of ten Nirvana tracks, the majority of which I was blissfully unaware of and so was able to judge the album purely as a stand-alone reggae album. Obviously I had heard the original recordings of the ‘big hitters’ such as ‘Heart-Shaped Box,’ ‘Come As You Are’ and ‘Lithium’ on various Rock radio stations, but the others ….. no idea!
Of these more recognisable tracks, ‘Come As You Are,’ transfers best to the reggae genre, perhaps because the original doesn’t growl as much as the others. But it’s the other songs that impress more. ‘Very Ape’ for instance incorporates a sort of Middle Eastern flavour and key changes. The delivery is sharp and the backbeat really bouncy.
‘Sliver’ plays very much on the Hammond organ and female backing vocals. This could quite conceivably have been reggae standard, blasting out of some huge sound system in downtown Kingston. ‘About A Girl,’ brings in some deep sounding horns on top of the organ and female harmonies, while ‘Son Of a Gun,’ incorporates an excellent touch of dub.
Yeah – I can’t say this album would entice me to educate myself in the music of Nirvana, but it will encourage me to search out more from LITTLE ROY.
(Released through ARK recordings on 5th September 2011)