Jamaican Me Breakfast Club, “Brewed in New Orleans” (Independent)

Jamaican Me Breakfast ClubReggae-infused popular music has it precedents. Think Dread Zeppelin taking on the rock gods of Led Zeppelin or the Easy Star All-Stars with a full reenactment of Pink Floyd’s Dark (Dub) Side of the Moon. There’s something playfully daring about adding some skank to well-known music. The first release from Jamaican Me Breakfast Club does exactly that with over a dozen soulfully skankified songs from the 1980s. Maybe I was easily lured to this recording because it brings me back to my youth when MTV actually had music videos, Nicolas Cage was still relatively sane and I owned a crimping iron.

The music on this recording is a time capsule that successfully manages to breathe new life into a catalog known for melodrama. With this new life is a sense that all is all right, especially when presented with a band that knows how to handle the reggae vibe, instrumentally as well as vocally. Funk and skank are arguably two sides of the same coin and when you drop that coin into a jukebox with classics by Duran Duran, the Cars, A Flock of Seagulls, the Thompson Twins and others, you’re bound to find yourself dancing without a whiff of irony and wanting to hear more from this collective of talented performers.