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Mighty Mystic | Concrete World

album review by John Powell

Mighty Mystic | Concrete World

Mighty Mystic’s second LP, Concrete World is heavy roots reggae. It is full of hits and misses, but the overall quality of the work is strong. The beats are rich, the melodies catchy, and much of the album is highly danceable. As an artist, Mighty Mystic lingers between future roots ala John Brown’s Body, interested in integrating hip-hop, pop, and other genres, and also in the mire of roots, Jamaican-fueled rock steady.

Thematically, Concrete World doesn’t break any reggae convention. Mystic often sings vaguely about rising up against oppression, standing up for what you believe in, and tosses in generic love songs. However, there are some occasions throughout the record that he hits a homerun, and it’s these moments that make Mystic’s album an overall success. Many listeners may not scrutinize lyrics as much as I do, and my biggest criticism of Mighty Mystic is that he works in a world where reggae lyricism has evolved, while he, like Stephen Marley and other roots-men, fail to grow. The bar is set very high.

Let’s talk about what shines: “Cali Green” is delicious Eek-A-Mouse style singjaying to ganja. Mystic performs with swagger, coming off confident, cool, and in charge. “It’s the best herb on the scene,” he near raps in the chorus. “In Hollywood/ I smoke the goods,” he adds. It’s amazing.

The title track is also wonderful in execution. Mystic has a great knack for instrumentation. The one drop hits heavy and the bass is powerful. There’s also a resonating message: “You haven’t seen your mother in a year and half/ You’re more concerned with the money in the glass.” Likewise, “War (Rumors of War)” is anthemic, booming with fury, and a top pick for head-bob song of the year.

“Happy”, despite how casual the lyrics are, lives up to its name. “Thank god it’s Friday,” Mystic sings. “I’ve got money in my pocket.” Again, does it break new ground? Not really, but the beat is good and it’s fun to dance to.

On the other side, there’s “True Love” and “Love or An Illusion”, both of which are weak, in instrumentation and lyrics. In some circles, these pop songs would shine simply because they’re expected, but Mystic does write some righteous tunes, so when he drops the ball, it has dire affects.

He pulls it back together for the two closers, “Rise” and “Hammer”. Concrete World is constructed to rock your stereo. Beginning to end, the songs cover a lot of ground and shake the subwoofers.

Mighty Mystic has his niche. Within it, he’s paving his way. He shouldn’t be afraid to get personal, or even to co-write some songs, just to flesh out his capabilities. Concrete World is a good record which grew on me over multiple listenings. Two thumbs up.

Bottom line: Boxed in by the genre, Mighty Mystic finds moments of pure, gorgeous reggae music, proving he’s more than capable of rocking your speakers.


0 # Nick G 2014-01-30 21:36
Man.. that was a solid review. I pretty much see the album the same way as you. Safe to say his next album could be his defining moment or the opposite. Im all in on the defining moment. Creatively he made a big stride since the 1st album. The next one he'll put it all together. Great review great album
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