You gotta admit that Alpheus is a pretty fertile artist. “The Victory” is his seventh record and he’s most definitely not a musician whom you would call an old-timer. His career started in the 80s when he was singing with London sound systems. Studio debut had to wait till 1999, when his rising star caught Tony Brevett’s of the legendary Melodians interest. That was his doing when Alpheus got to be the last “Studio One” artist singed by Coxsone Dodd himself. “Quality Time” released on this Jamaican label is a great, very much reggae record, but it didn’t yet show the singer’s true potential. There was still one key piece missing in this rocksteady puzzle.
It wasn’t found until almost a decade later, after Alpheus recorded his sophomore “Everything For A Reason”. Necessary ingredient was hiding in Europe, more specifically in Spain. During one of his tours Alpheus met a Spanish producer of Cuban origin, Roberto Sánchez. He’s one of the very rare breeds of wizards skilled to impeccably recreate old Jamaican sound in a studio. Perfect riddims and compositions joined with Alpheus’ vocals and studio finesse effected in 4 next albums which we admire to this day. I’m a little hesitant here but I think I can honestly say that every one of them is even better than the previous records. So, how does his lastest child (3rd released by Liquidator Music from Madrid) fit into this set?
Alpheus – “The Victory”
Voice of Alpheus reaches the true top here. If I were to compare it to anyone, it would have to be some genre giant like maybe Ken Boothe. When you listen to these songs composed by Sánchez you can’t even suspect that they weren’t made in the 60s in Kingston. Alpheus with his inspired soulful voice makes you feel like you participate in a story told in the title song “The Victory”, experience every second with him while listening to “We Are The People”, even if you’re actually not paying too much attention to the lyrics. Obviously rocksteady goes great with love topics and songs like “Nicer Than Nice” or “Rude Love” confirm just that. “Gonna Be Good” is an early reggae jewel. Roberto Sáncheze and his Lone Ark Riddim Force Band can find themselves in pretty much every genre.
It will probably take some time until I even grab a physical copy, while the global pandemic takes its toll on delivery times. Although that should most definitely not stop you from ordering “The Victory” today as a CD or a 12″ vinyl.
As a conclusion let’s get back to the question about “The Victory” superiority over previous work of Alpheus. As I hold “Light Of Day” in great esteem, it’s very difficult for me to switch the podium order again right now. I’ll have to be diplomatic and just say that there can be more than one winner and “The Victory” is for sure not worse in any part. Of course, it’s quite possible that in a few weeks, when I’ll familiarize myself a little more with this new album, I’ll be more inclined toward reaching a definitely positive verdict.