Album Review: Bugle - Anointed
by Gardy Stein
Turn up the speakers and sound the trumpet – it will be a pleasure to watch this conscious artist rise to the top!
"Dem a set trap fi mi fall ina dat but I man anointed. So all who a wait fi mi fall pon face, dem ago disappointed." (Bugle)
Have you heard about Bugle yet? No, I don't mean the city in Cornwall. Neither do I refer to the lake in America or the indigenous people in Panama. It is not the signal trumpet either, although we now get closer to the core of the matter (this instrument might well be the eponym of the artist in question). In the unlikely case you haven't heard from the singer by that name, it's about time you did!
Roy Thompson a.k.a. Bugle has just released his debut album Anointed under the wings of Zojak Worldwide and DASECA Productions, with the latter obviously representing much more than just a random label for his publications. In fact, their common journey started out as early as 2007, when Bugle joined the small label founded by brothers David & Craig Harrisingh and Serani (their initials giving the name DaSeCa). Even though Serani has left the enterprise by now to focus on his own work, the family vibes linger. Acquainting yourself with the album, you will hear the name several times, and the following quote shows just how much the group means to him: "Daseca make me rise, now dem surprise a who dat!".
Which brings us to the first of 16 new additions to the musical universe. Breathtaking in its simplicity, Reflection is one of the most captivating album intros I have heard for a long time. Even though the track is starting in a slow pace, it gathers momentum while Bugle seems to tell a very personal story, and when the drums settle in at 2:19, you can't help but abandon everything you might be doing at the moment and fully focus on it. The underlying heartbeat is setting the mood right for all the beautiful music, conscious lyrics and positive vibes there are to come.
"Come" might not suffice to describe what the vibes of the next track are doing – let's call it rush, invade, overwhelm: "Now hear me out, now hear me out!" With a tight grip on the lyrics, the singer's mature, resonant voice and a strong guitar riff carry us through the title track Anointed. Actually, that is a wonderful caption of this masterpiece, since it indeed seems to be impregnated with some kind of delicious oil. At least it has done something to me, and I can't stop listening to it since it first touched my ears.
The next two tracks have a similar rhythmical set-up, and No Obligation seems to flow right into I Don't Worry, although the lyrics are diverse enough to set them apart (as are the producers). Reading through the credits of track 3, the name Mark Myrie Jr. strikes the eye, and indeed it is one of Buju Banton's offspring who has been sitting on the controls for it. How good to see that the legacy is passed on… In Tears Of Joy, an uplifting, nicely arranged tune, we get a first glimpse of the Reggae-ish side of the album, a glimpse that is broadened to a panoramic view in Y R U and Great Day.
But I'm skipping. Zion is another powerful hymn that takes advantage of the driving force of the drums already encountered in title one. Speaking of encountering: the first feature of the album is none less than Julian Marley, who graces the pensive Move Dem with his voice and words.
Moving on to Nuh Compatible, we not only hit another hit, but also a very personal affair of the singer (it's speculated that the lyrics are aimed at his ex-girlfriend). Whether or not this is the case, clever lines such as "You want be star, but me a observer, me want soulfood, you want burger" make this danceable piece a joy to listen to. Likewise the next combination: Lady Saw and Bugle take turns to sing about Infidelity and how it feels to be cheated on.
After this short excursion into the physical world, we are taken to the philosophical realm once more in Carried Away. Introduced by an ecclesiastic choir and Nyabinghi beat, Bugle pleads with us for making the right choices in life.
Including live instrumentation by Kirk Bennett (drums) and Jason Welsh (bass), the combination Pain & Suffering brings I-Octane to the fore. Throughout the album, the names on the features alone are a seal of quality, and they don't end here. In Only Human, we get in touch with Alaine, Popcaan and Tarrus Riley – all in one song! In light of this accomplishment it's actually surprising that the whole production (we are talking about sixteen exclusively produced tracks!) took less than a year.
False Prophets and Jah Be With You round off the package with a spiritual message and leave us energized and hopeful. As with any album, it's tempting to simply enjoy the songs and let the great music wash over you. However, please try to intensely follow the lyrics as well – they are too good to be a mere background matter! Bugle's words are the authentic expression of someone who has experienced, reflected on and learned from the hills and valleys of life. Turn up the speakers and sound the trumpet – it will be a pleasure to watch this conscious artist rise to the top!
Bugle - Anointed
DIGITAL RELEASE [DASECA Productions/Zojak World Wide]
Release date: 05/06/2014
03. No Obligation
04. I Don't Worry
05. Tear of Joy
07. Y R U
08. Move Dem feat. Julian Marley
09. Nuh Compatible
10. Infidelity feat. Lady Saw
11. Great Day
12. Carried Away
13. Pain & Suffering feat. I-Octane
14. False Prophets
15. Only Human feat. Alaine, Popcaan & Tarrus Riley
16. Jah Be With You