Review: Here's something to warm the heart and soothe the ears: a collection of crucial Lovers Rock cuts from Neil "Mad Professor" Fraser's Ariwa Sounds label, the majority of which were produced and released in the 1980s. During the period, the Ariwa Studio was one of the focal points (though not the only one) in London of the soulful, synthesizer-driven reggae sound, and as a result the compilation is full to bursting with treats. Our highlights include the colourful sweetness of Sandra Cross' "It's You", the slow motion bliss of Aisha's "Dancing Time", the weighty and up-beat "The Other Side of Love" by Carroll Thompson, Sgt Pepper/Aquizm's bass guitar-heavy "True True Loving" and the sunshine goodness of "I Just Want To Love You" by Leroy Simmons.
Review: Kiss, Cuddle & Torture: Volume 2 is the second album offering from The Hempoloics on their own Zee Zee. It's another of their unique collisions of reggae, hip hop, pop, dancehall and funk and comes with plenty of upbeat riddims that will no doubt get as much radio play as previous singles. Showing real development as well as lush chords, masterfully overdubbed keys and complex arrangements that were apparently written by the whole band together, it's another successful record. Check the contemporary flow and funky riffs of "Bongadashi" or more horizontal dub flexes of "In The Night" for highlights.