One of the countries most high profile reggae bands returns with a new full-length album and DVD package. There are no surprises here, their smooth, skanking Pacifikan reggae has an unconfrontational and pop-like feel from start to finish, which should appeal to their core fans in New Zealand and internationally.

Opening with the title track, ‘On The Road Again’, this is an an ode to touring and travelling their sound around New Zealand and throughout the world.The LP continues through two more cuts of niceness, ‘Sweet As’ and ‘Yr Dreaming’.

A sombre call for leadership is up next. The socially concious, ‘Lead Us’ mentions a ‘fatality up in the streets’ and highlights how crime can lead to jail time for far too many youth in Aotearoa.

‘Irie’ is a dose of lovers rock and ‘Groove Again’ takes the lovers to the dancefloor and offers a little slackness in the form of a tight ragga verse.

‘Feels Like’ is another smooth lovers joint and by the time ‘One Stop Shop’ wanders past and ‘Chances Are’ rolls around, it’s beginning to sound like a reggae/ R&B album.

Another danceable number, ‘Is This Familiar’, which keeps the LP bumpin along, while ‘Seek Ye’ approaches religious matters from what sounds like a Judeo-Christian angle of salvation – somewhat ironic for a reggae band? Perhaps…

The album winds up with ‘Serious’ and the signature sound of their sax-man complementing the track beautifully. The horn section comes through with vigour on this one, it has always been one of the bands many strengths. Although, it was unfortunate to hear the guitar solo cut short at the end .

The package is topped off with a few very choice bonus remixes and a DVD extra with some scenic footage from the groups recent concert trip to Brasil.

Supplemented with bubbling grooves, funky horns and some very nice harmonies, this collection of down home reggae tracks comes across as a little safe and mainstream in places but should work well for the international market.

Keep an ear out for the videos as there will surely be a couple from this project.

More info:
Katchafire website

Winston Spliff’ aka RAS DEF