John Brown’s Body: Fireflies


We’re guessing this is modern reggae; they’re from Boston and call themselves “future roots music”.

We like a bit of reggae but it’s (obviously) a tight genre, so we asked our local reggae fiend and he said they’re “making waves, an up and coming band”. They’ve actually been going 20 years so we guess this new album is either slicker or more commercial than previous work and getting a wider release.

The sound is sharp and produced. It’s not like old school reggae, and mostly not as rootsy as Bob Marley but it has a heavy dub feel, with the bass a constant presence.

Track two Hard Man Fe Dead reminded us of Peter Tosh’s solo work, specifically Mama Africa with reggae that’s meant to be danced to, and catchy melodies.

Opening track Who Paid Them Off is one of the poppier tracks, building up from piano/keys, then horns and drums. Hard Man Fe Dead has a more traditional reggae opener while High Grade is marginally slower but dubbier and gets the listener in more of a groove. Badman is more old school and does get closer to the sound of Bob.

The band clearly know their reggae but want to get people dancing to it, even those who aren’t necessarily reggae fans: the closing two songs are Pure Fire (disco mix) and the very danceable and hypnotic Mash Them Down.


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