Chipko Jones

Chipko Jones

Street Sounds: The Kids is all right

The debut recording of the Vernon-based calypso/reggae group Chipko Jones is a tastefully arranged album of dance music and message songs.

The debut recording of the Vernon-based calypso/reggae group Chipko Jones is a tastefully arranged album of dance music and message songs.

The band, led by singer/guitarist Moot Murphy, takes its cue from the desert heat and shimmery lakes of the Okanagan region to create mellow waves of sound.

The Kids is a hybrid album, part reggae inspired with a calypso soul and horn driven hooks that add a slow burn to the swaying rhythms.

The horn section of Jen Millan and Annessa Lang adds punch without being shrill and the combination of melodic chorded pattern and trumpet/sax riffs gets hypnotic, but never trancey.

The band plays for the song and the songs are sunny glimpses of positive commitment.

The warm tone and sparse production, by veteran bassist Jacob Chatterton at Redhead Studios, reflects the group’s songs and brings out the sympathetic play of the musicians.

Some of the guitar/bass interplay takes aural cues from albums like Graceland, notably I Remain, a stately tune that builds sections and has polyrhythmic character.  This carries into the bold move of placing a drum section as a song on a six-song EP. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting display of percussion and stick work from Waseem Hakhroo that hints at the pulse of the group’s live show.

The most interesting and effective of Chipko Jones’ material leans towards the calypso sound. Tracks like Let it Be Known and The Kids are positivity personified and reveal a deep instinct for mixing pop inflected reggae and calypso.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews the latest music releases for The Morning Star every Friday.