Rhythmites - Integration

Rhythmites – Integration
Release date – 18th September 2015
Bristol Archive Records
CD and Digital Download
ARC274CD

The reggae back catalogue is rich with powerful music and ripe territory for good quality re-issues. We modern buyers are sophisticated and demand great product, the forthcoming release of Integration by Rhythmites certainly ticks the right boxes.

Formed in the mid 80s and based in Bath, Rhythmites were a popular live roots act. Although their initial career lasted a decade their physical releases were sparse, amounting to just a couple of cassettes, a 12” and the vinyl only release of debut album Integration.

In 2007 the band re-formed, started gigging again and in 2010 released the album ‘Stand Strong’. Since their return to the reggae scene, fans have been clamouring for a reissue of their early material and with their track record of West Country releases, Bristol Archive took on the project.

Bristol discovered that the band had never been entirely happy with the original mix of Integration and wanted to remix the album with the benefit of 21st century facilities. Remixes can be a bad thing, but rest assured the band have remained totally faithful to the original with no badly judged attempts to update the sound. Engineer Ben Findley has totally nailed it with the new mix; it takes the original to another level, improving it whilst maintaining the spirit of the vinyl pressing.

The album features the eight original tracks plus two dubs and when first track ‘Nation Integration’ kicks in you can hear the big roots blood and fire sound. You can tell from the tightness of the sound that these guys were an experienced live outfit, it almost sounds like a live recording.

Highlight tracks include ‘No Stopping We’ a roots stepper, with Angus’ distinctive and likable vocals very much to the forefront; some nice key changes give it an English feel. ‘Give and Take’ has an early UB40 feel to it, think One in Ten. It’s fast with a ska beat, the keyboards set the pace and like the rest of the album the lyrics call for a sharing and equality. ‘Hold On’ slows the pace, a nice gentle bass line comes to the fore and again features some cool well-crafted key changes. The last two tracks are new dub remixes and don’t feel out of place and add a heavy skank ending to an excellent album.

Another 10/10 album from Bristol and I would thoroughly recommend it, great song writing and musicianship. It would definitely appeal to lovers of the English roots sound. If you have Steel Pulse, Aswad or UB40 in your collection you will need to add this one, buy it!

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