[Easy Star, 2011]

Ways and Means, The GreenFor some reason musicians of the islands of Hawai’i often do an amazing job with the music of the island of Jamaica. There’s something in the water besides salt, apparently. Anyway, here’s another example. Through their Ways & Means, the four members of The Green have bestowed on us 14 tracks of progressive yet rootsy reggae. It has distinct echoes of Third World and Steel Pulse scattered around, in both the instrumentation and vocals, but the album features lots of originality too, and quite a bunch of delightful musical surprises.

Originality? Yeah, the tunes are original (for the most part, that is, but you can safely ignore “She Was The Best”), and moreover they’re appealing and often catchy. Surprises, you ask? Yeah, for example the spare, crooked beat of “Decisions,” the interesting structure and tempo changes of the title track, the lively and fuzzy guitar solo that saves “Love & Affection” from lovers’ rock oblivion, and the disarming piano intro to “That’s The Way.” Overall, with its complex arrangements and introspective, relatively grounded lyrical concerns (that is, relative to the reggae norm), the disc comes across as solid and sophisticated, an hour of highly pleasurable music.