Ed Rome is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter penning music in many genres concentrating on Reggae, Ska, Acoustic, World and Blues. His 2009 Reggae album ‘A Life in Minutes’ was highly acclaimed and named by Steve Lamacq (BBC Radio 2) as the best Reggae album of the year.
Expectations are therefore high for his latest album, ‘Common Ancestry‘, and I’m pleased to report that it does not disappoint. Ed’s fascination with stretching and melding genres is once again in evidence, this time creating a fusion of Afrobeat and Funk. He’s no stranger to either category, but this work marks the first time he’s attempted to bring the two together. And it works.
The Afrobeat roots are clear from the opening bars of ‘Safe Place‘ – throughout the album, there’s an emphasis on percussion and there are plenty of intersecting rhythms. But it’s interwoven with the propulsive danceability of Funk, creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
‘Common Ancestry‘ has twelve tracks in total, including a couple of all-too-brief instrumental ‘interludes’, which serve to split the album into sections. On most of the tracks Ed serves as vocalist – his voice possesses a slightly raw quality (in a good way) that works well here.
Album highlights include ‘It’s Not Worth It‘, opening with some delicate guitar work that then gradually opens out as layer after layer of texture is added, ‘Knowing Too Much (To Be Happy)‘, with its subtle but effective rhythm changes that keep you on your toes, and the positively mellow ‘Tolerance‘.
‘Unique’ is a word that’s often overused, but it’s surely applicable here. You’ll have heard all these elements before, but never assembled quite like this. ‘Common Ancestry‘ is a sheer delight of an album, and marks another welcome addition to Ed’s already considerable repertoire.
‘Common Ancestry‘ is released by Slam Door Records on 15 April 2021.
Album tracklisting:
Safe Place
Dead And Gone
Provincial Cocaine
Interlude 1 – Innocence Lost
It’s Not Worth It
Interlude 2 – Natural Selection
Knowing Too Much (To Be Happy)
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