Talisman – I-Surrection

September 30, 2013

Talisman, formed in Bristol, England, were a reggae band active from the late 1970s until the 1990s. They were multiracial in their make-up, as per Birmingham’s UB40, yet played a more orthodox kind of Jamaican music than the 80s burgeoning Two Tone movement. In a sense, they represented an early example of their city’s cultural melting pot which would later make a worldwide impact via the likes of Massive Attack.

Like their Bristol contemporaries Black Roots, the group has re-united following renewed interest in their catalogue through reissues by Mike Darby of Bristol Archive Records (a subsidiary of Sugar Shack Records). Talisman are a similarly accomplished live act – who once supported the Rolling Stones in 1981 – and in the last two years they have been back on the road writing and getting tight. The result is this comeback mini-album, released on Sugar Shack, consisting of six vocals and six dubs produced by Dave Hill of London’s Rootikal label and night.

For their 2012 album On The Ground, Black Roots did not attempt to update their sound to a modern audience. If anything Talisman have returned with a slower, harder roots approach than in their recording heyday. The rhythms are tough, stripped down and live instrument based. Their only extravagance beyond the core line-up (Dehvan Othieno’s guitar, Dennison Joseph’s rather rock toned bass, Dennis Hutchinson’s keyboards, Pete Fletcher’s guitar and Reggie Chambers’ drums) is some occasional horns and a little melodica on the dub to Hey Yout’.

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