The Itals

Modern Age

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Review

It's more than a bit ironic that the Itals bookend their Modern Age set with two versions of a song that's anything but, and actually dates back in 1976. However, "In a Dis Ya Time"'s message is just as relevant and resonant today as back then, and it's somehow appropriate that the new-look trio should revisit it here, and a fine job they make of it as well. Yet, times have changed and it's not just the shift in lineup that emphasizes this fact, but the group's continuing evolution away from cultural themes. Relationships are the main thrust of this album, and a glance down the track list makes quite clear the trio are looking to "Give Love a Try" and "Surrender" to the passion, hopefully to fall "Crazy" in love and live "Together Forever" with nothing but "Sweet Memories" in store. However, "Together Forever" is a lovely unity number, while "Titanic," the title track, and "Almighty" are potent reminders of the Itals' roots. Overseen by Keith Porter and co-produced by David Pansegrouw and Mary Perkins, the set boasts an eclectic sound that sweeps from deep roots through dancehall-flavored numbers, and on to the ska-ified take on "Dis Ya Time." Earl "Flabba" Holt and Eugene Ricketts lay down the mesmerizing rhythms, abetted by Bongo Herman, and Dwight Pinckney and Chilem Roxborough offer up the riffs, while keyboardists Keith Sterling, Squidly Cole, and Patrick Murray conjure up the glorious atmospheres and melodies. A splendid album that takes the group into the modern age and beyond. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, Rovi