The catacomb reggay can happen in any dark cave through the depths of the Kingston harbor. Right in that moment when the tide is high and the vampires, the zombies and the duppys get together in the slums of the Caribbean Sea. It can happen there or cross the Atlantic Ocean and emerge, after thousand leagues under the sea, in some corner of the south of Galicia.
The hidden forces of the submarine horror reggae have been travelling for a decade already, from the sewers of Trench Town to Rías Baixas. In the shape of a drum rhythm, a bass line, a giant squid, a seven inches vinyl or bubbling notes coming from a guitar. The big Jamaican monster of ska, rocksteady and early reggae could have stayed anchored in the 60s, but decided to mutate in a Galician musical combo that dress fancy suits and explodes with soul.
From 2004, Transilvanians recue the soul and the freshest grooves of the Jamaican golden era from submarine caves. After memorable battles against super villains like Godzilla and Charlton Heston, the new compilations of their adventures comes, at last, with ‘Echo, Vibes & Fire’, their second record and arguably their best to date.
This very much awaited album spits flares in the shape of their classis instrumentals of catacomb reggae. Like the inaugural ‘Into The Pyramid’ with its overwhelming brass section, the exceptionally soft and elegant ‘O Rebullón’, the funk persecution that drive us to the ‘Base Alieníxena de Rande’ or the evening through the early Jamaican riddims that can be enjoyed in ‘Ska All Night’. But, besides their wicked musical style, Trasilvanians have a seal of quality in Javier Marco’s voice, as classic as the band and versatile as the best black crooners. Listen to the Princebusterian echoes in the phrasings of ‘Reggaemotion’ and, of course, the hot verses of the combative ‘The Voice Of The People’, an radiography of the current situation that invites the people to take the riddles of its own life. Apart from these, the Galicians take us to the zoo with ‘Peacock Style’ and ‘The Burial Of Monkey Paco’, where a heartfelt tribute is paid to a friendly monkey known by its addiction to sex.
But they are not alone in this party. Roy “Mr. Symarip” Ellis, habitual companion of the band in its performances in Spain, puts his superb voice in ‘Mr. Rudy’. While Roberto Sanchéz, the magician that came from the North, joins the farewell in ‘Fence Of Shame’, a song that speaks loud against the ignominious fences of Ceuta and Melilla. In total, ten original song and two covers: Mohawks’ ‘Dr. Jekyll & Hyde Park’ and an excellent revision of The Clash’s ‘Gates Of The West’.
‘Echo, Vibes & Fire’ was recorded by José Aller in Garageland studios, mixed by the magician Roberto Sánchez in A-Lone Ark Muzik Studio and mastered by Ibon Larruzea in Euridia. As usual, Roberto Argüelles sings the unmistakable artwork starred by submarine Lee “Scratch” Perry fighting with music as his only weapon.
Sneak like a boat abandoned on the Samil beach’s sand by a drug-trafficking group. Terrifyingly joyful like a marathon of Hammer movies. The catacomb reggae could reign forever in the memory of the Kingston ghettoes, but decided to resuscitate in Galicia. Everyone was waiting for new big adventures in the 2014 musical landscape and here they are.