The New Age Steppers | Action Battlefield

The New Age Steppers | Action Battlefield


On-U Sound
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From the Dubwise Vinyl review on Test Pressing:

‘Action Battlefield’ was the successor to their debut LP and followed quickly on its heels arriving on the record shelves later the same year. This time the emphasis sways more towards vocal tracks which places Ari centre stage providing her with the perfect platform to reinterpret a range of reggae classics in her own inimitable style.

The set opens with a version of one of my all-time favourite Bim Sherman songs ‘My Whole World.’ Ari adds a refreshing sense of defiance to the track with her powerfully delivered vocals which contrast starkly with the gentle fragility of the original, satisfyingly throwing gender stereotypes out of the window in the process. Other highlights include the sunny leftfield reggae pop of ‘My Love’ which features the vocals of a young Neneh Cherry and calls to mind the music of another post-punk icon - Brenda Ray.

There’s also a uniquely brilliant rendition of Horace Andy’s ‘Problems’ part sung in Ari’s native tongue of German which again injects some welcome punk militancy to the song’s message about turning your back on the world’s worries. Both are delivered in extended discomix format which provides welcome space for Mr Sherwood to exercise his dubwise expertise. The stripped back, dark driving dub that forms the second half of ‘Problems’ is a particular personal favourite, as is ‘Nuclear Zulu’ which is the only stand alone dub track on the album. In true On-U fashion it provides an enthralling ride to the more experimental edges of the echo chamber where fragments of Ari’s vocals appear alongside barely identifiable sound effects all dubbed within an inch of their life.

As an album ‘Action Battlefield’ feels like the perfect companion piece to their debut in providing a more immediately accessible vocal counterpart to the largely dubwise minimalism of its predecessor.

1. My Whole World
2. Observe Life
3. Got To Get Away
4. My Love
1. Problems
2. Nuclear Zulu
3. Guiding Star