Brothers In Arms

Calypso, soul and pop, blended together to create a fine collection of music.

The quartet's music has a Caribbean feel to it and there's lots of emphasis on percussion, beats and drums, played with flair by Cyril, Charles and Aaron Neville. The album consists of the group's choiciest tracks picked from various albums like "Yellow Moon", "Fiyo On The Bayou", "Family Groove", "Live On Planet Earth", "Brothers Keepers" and "The Neville Brothers Mitakuye Oyasin Oyasin / All My Relations".

So often, as in "Let My People Go" and "Hey Pocky Way" the lyrics disappear midway for minutes together, and we're treated to pure, swaying rhythm and sax.

The music draws on African-American tradition and culture as is seen in "Voodoo", which explores the theme of spells and magic; "With God On Our Side", which speaks of racism and in which we find that the four brothers can carry a tune with elan; and "Brother Blood" which urges unity among different sects of the African race.

Included also, are the frequently sung "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Fly Like An Eagle" - two tracks that sound good no matter who sings them. "River Of Life" and "Brother John / Iko Iko" are listenable and lend themselves to some relaxed dancing. "Sister Rosa" is a groovy rap song. Finally, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" provides a nice, slow finish to an album that that offers a variety of music styles - calypso, soul and pop - blended together to create a pleasurable seventy-four minutes of listening.

What comes through in this collection is the group's undoubted mastery of beat and rhythm. This listener feels that the album definitely deserves a chance from the musically inclined.

This article was first published on 17 Jul 2000.