Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: Easy Star's Thrillah - Easy Star All-Stars

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Album cover for Easy Star's Thrillah by Easy Star All-Stars. Photo / Supplied
Album cover for Easy Star's Thrillah by Easy Star All-Stars. Photo / Supplied

Nearly 10 years ago, New York outfit the Easy Star All Stars decided to turn Pink Floyd's entire album Dark Side Of The Moon into a reggae album. Since then, in among their original releases, the All Stars have also tackled Radiohead and The Beatles (they clearly don't shy away from classic, much loved albums), and this year they've gone for Michael Jackson's Thriller.

With 21 instrumentalists, plus guest vocalists in the crew, it's an album with a rich tapestry of sounds, and a polished, carefully thought-through endeavour.

Guitarist/producer/arranger Michael Goldwasser was conscious of remaining faithful to the original songs while also trying to bring something fresh to them.

Thriller is the epitome of a danceable album, and the All Stars have kept it pretty danceable (just at a more skankin tempo and groove), and perfectly listenable.

But it also comes across as something of a gimmick, and doesn't really stretch beyond a covers album. It's almost too faithful in places, and could do with a slightly more adventurous approach. The tracks that do stand out are Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' which suits it's Afrobeat remake, and Human Nature, which with Cas Haley's strong vocal performance actually sounds like a reggae classic.

Stars: 3/5


- NZ Herald

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