Album Review: Chezidek - Irie Day
by Gardy Stein
Island vibes! With Irie Day, we are invited to get into the sunshine groove and let our souls hang loose. After his last album Freedom Fighters in 2013, Desbert Johnson aka Chezidek has mostly concentrated on collaborations (e.g. Cry For The Youth with Tamari) and single releases, the latest of which were No More War and Why (on the I Mean It riddim). Almost in contrast to the serious issues treated in these works, his new album seems to be inspired by light and love alone.
Released under his own label Chezi Berry Records, the ten tracks included are produced by the artist himself for a big part, with the notable exception of No Blame by Irie Ites Records (who created some amazing horn sections here) and Journey (on the Better Days riddim by Oneness Records), which is out on video as well.
Wayne Unga Thompson and Jason Welsh (Notis Music) have contributed to the opening track Living In The Sunshine, a song that may appeal to tourists but is a bit far from Jamaican reality with lines like "everything is going fine", and Rainbow, a sweet sweet rock-along piece with perfectly balanced backing vocals.
Other well-known names on the credits are Devon Bradshaw (former bass-player of Burning Spear) and Ian Coleman (Ziggy Marley's guitarist) on tracks like Mercy, Lesson and Jah Jah Bless. The latter, a plea for divine protection, is also the only feature, with none less than "the fireman" Capleton enriching both track and album.
While Come In and Love Says It All are lyrically well-conceived but musically rather average tunes, the title track, now, is a little runaway genre-wise. In an almost Bossanova-like style, Irie Day is the perfect soundtrack for a mild evening on the terrace, the beach or wherever you might enjoy your after hours. If you listen closely, you will even hear crickets and cicadas chirping in the background, a sound I have come to love as typical for Jamaican nights.
Overall, Irie Day is a pleasant production in which Chezidek's extraordinary voice harmonizes beautifully with the melodic instrumentals and, especially, the fine backing vocals. It might not reach the profundity of his previous works, but it's certainly a perfect choice to throw into your system whenever you feel like enjoying a bit of sweet, relaxing Reggae music.
Chezidek - Irie Day
DIGITAL RELEASE [Chezi Berry Records]
Release date: 11/03/2017
01. Living in the Sunshine
02. Come In
03. Jah Jah Bless
04. No Blame
06. Irie Day
10. Love Says It All