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The most enjoyable and heart-rendering reggae albums in recent times.
Released via the now well established—or even cultish—label Mr Bongo, an imprint that over the years has proven its worth in the sharp ear, Hollie Cook’s self-titled debut is something quite special. The daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook has proven she is more than ready to shine in her own right, producing one of the most enjoyable and heart-rendering reggae albums in recent times.
Incredibly uplifting too, due predominantly to Cook’s charming optimism; the record breaths warmth into otherwise somber topics like heart ache and solitude, proving it’ll be a play for any time of the year.
Some have branded her sound tropical pop but, in truth, that is too narrow a description for the wide-ranging production from Prince Fatty, who has architected curvaceous 60′s-style dub, ska and reggae beats that sway along to Cook’s compelling and stunning psychedelic melodies. The album is varied without venturing too much from a uniform line.
For this reason a favourite is hard to pluck. But, if pushed, the romantic ‘Walking in the Sand’, a cover of The Shangri-Las’ ‘Remember Walking in the Sand’, with its samples of the seaside, echoey dub and lazy trumpets certainly tops the list. ‘Milk and Honey’, previously an underground reggae hit for Prince Fatty, is another superb anthem, boasting a catchy chorus with Cook’s vocals at times verging on a flirtatious whisper.
The album closes with ‘Cry’. A welcome change in pace, Horseman’s trapping cries add extra spice to the horn and percussion packed track, rounding of the arrival of an exciting new talent.
words Ali Raymond
Hollie Cook website
Mr Bongo website