Pama International are a true band of all stars, perhaps most famous for becoming the first new act to sign to the legendary Trojan Records in 30 years. Boasting a who’s who of members and associates in the wider music world including The Specials, The Loafers, PWEI, Steel Pulse and Bentley Rhythm Ace, finally this album sees them achieve the optimal mix. Pama Outernational is truly infectious dub and roots reggae at its very best, but also blends a whole lot more into the equation. The band may have been an ongoing revolving door of classic musicians and contributors since their inception in 2001 (a mediocre self titled debut LP followed a year later) but this album features a fuller and better production sound than any of its predecessors.
With the main backbone of their sound upbeat London / Jamaican reggae (they describe themselves as ‘Dub Fuelled Ska Rocksteady & Reggae’), every track has the potential to be a hit, whilst the buoyant, catchy reggae works well over the entire corpus of the album and binds this exceptional body of work in its entirety. The secular (or possibly religious?) query ‘Are We Saved Yet?’ is musically uplifting with keyboard sounding more like a piano organ, as well as some great lyrics but it’s the uplifting singalong chorus that really makes the song.
The party atmosphere exudes on tracks like -I Still Love You More’ and even the simple but effective -He’s More Like his Father’ shows that the band work when they take their foot off the gas. The combination of hi-hat and cymbal mix, up beat driving bass and drums make this an exciting collection and a must for all with even a passing interest in reggae. Songs of love and understanding abound on this album, but not in a clichÃ©d manner. Instead Pama Outernational is an energetic and buoyant celebration of Jamaican music and beyond. They’ll be here soon supporting the Specials – don’t miss them.