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10 Ft Ganja Plant | Skycatcher

album review by John Powell

10 Ft Ganja Plant | Skycatcher

Contemporary reggae’s most prolific group might also be one of the genre’s best- and it’s most mysterious. By now we’re sure Slighty Stoopid, Kevin Kinsella, and others associated with John Brown’s Body and other northeast groups are a part of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, but we’re still not sure. Plus, the band rarely plays live.

That being said, a mostly studio band, especially one made up solely of great songwriters, could easily put together 10 songs every year or so. If you go back and listen to Midnight Landing and Presents, 10 Ft has evolved significantly, trying to be both super dub-y and super rootsy. In being so outrageously roots reggae oriented, they are also incredibly unique.

Shape Up the Place had old school guest starts, Ten Deadly Shots Vol. 1 and Vol 2 were both instrumental albums, and Bushrock had an overall somber feel. Skycatcher is mostly a love song album. Much of the lyrical content is about relationships and sexuality. Save for the hyper-spiritual and slightly religious “Where Do You Want to Be”, and several instrumentals, songs like “It’s True” sum up the album’s flow: “Thought I knew myself/ What it took was someone else.”

Eew? Nope. Great. Awesome. Bass n’ drums fill this album up like a cocktail. The use of harmonies and melody are wonderful! Even if the lyrics at times delve into cliché non-noteworthy-ness, it’s clear 10 Ft was making this kind of album. It wasn’t a fluke. These guys don’t mess up.

Of course, there are the essential 10 Ft instrumentals, including the sound-describing opener, “In The Garden”. The title track throws in harmonica. It’s the album’s use of hand percussion that really adds a level, though. Both “Skycatcher” and “Sing and Dance” really go another mile with all the added layers.

“Sing and Dance” is a highlight, sounding like a reggae version of some 50’s song. It’s “State of Man” that really shines through, however. Kevin Kinsella takes lead vocals, and the staccato bassline and blitzed out horns, along with Kevin singing out in falsetto- well, it sounds like John Brown’s Body circa All Time, and it’s just delicious.

Maybe the band puts out too many albums. Maybe it’s hard to keep up. Maybe it’s all too good to pass up, though, and we all should just put on a 10 Ft album and feel better about our lives.

Go with the second option and check out Skycatcher.

Bottom line: 10 Ft Ganja Plant is still putting out consistent albums of roots reggae. It’s a great album.


 

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