Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
wyatt sprague | new york, ny United States | 09/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Urban Blight should have been superstars, creating, as they did, a stunning, commercial crossover sound that should have shot them to the top of the world's charts. But their timing was a little off; too late for the synth rage of the '80s and too early for the ska craze, Urban Blight wowed them in their Big Apple hometown and impressed audiences in clubs elsewhere in the U.S., but failed to make a mark on the mass market. Their album, Playgrounds 'n' Glass, is a brilliant blend of all the musical threads of the '80s and early '90s -- lush synth pop, funk, breezy reggae, alt-rock, and even a touch of dancehall. "Tempted By Silver" is their show-stopping ballad, with all the sweetness and laid-back atmosphere of UB40 but with all the majesty of a power ballad. Elsewhere, their live rendition of "Get Closer" meanders into Inner Circle territory, bright and breezy reggae with a singalong chorus and a cheery unity message. "Just Like the Moon" is equally upbeat, at least musically, although the lyrics are decidedly melancholy, but the bubbly melody and synth pop sound immediately lift the spirits. But for sheer exuberance nothing beats "I'm a Dreamer," an exhilarating skanker, with a searing guitar solo in the middle break and vocals that revel in R&B. "3 More Roses" delves even deeper into that genre, in fine Stax-ish style. The Urban crew turns R&B on its head later in the set with "Favorite Flavor," paying a tongue-in-cheek homage to funk, boy bands, hip-hop, and Michael Jackson, all wrapped in an infectious melody and compulsive beat. "Don't Stop the Rain" takes funk into the disco, but with a bouncy chorus and smooth vocals that defy the genre. "Tall 'n Lonely Buildings," in contrast, mixes up rap, funk, club beats, an irrepressible melody, and a jaded look at their concrete home. All things to everyone, this Urban bunch plays havoc with the city's sounds, but Playgrounds is big enough to encompass them all. Softening the harder edges of both Jamaican rhythms and urban stylings, splashing flashy brass around the arrangements, dousing the songs with synths that range from bubbly to lushly gorgeous, the septet weaves together a tasty tapestry from the threads of rock, reggae, and R&B, creating a superb crossover hybrid sound unlike anything else out there. They should have ruled the world -- that didn't happen, but this stunning album remains a monument to their audacious vision. ~ Jo-Ann Greene"