These Steppers make over Chaka Khan`s Some Love as a stoned, lovers rockers. Horns and group harmonies giving Ari Up`s heartbreak a great big hug. Crucial Tony’s cool guitar kinda rippling behind her piano-led plea. Bubblers and Steely providing those keys. A vibe that continues on Ari`s near falsetto reading of jazz standard, Stormy Weather. Grooving to the brass – Bammi`s sax and Vin Gordon’s trombone.
Dog Race is a showcase for George Oban`s brilliant bass. Kishi`s synth fanfares gracing this, and the long-players other instrumentals – Stabilizer, which dances to Style Scott’s double-time fills, and the Chinese zithered Mandarin. The latter being the album`s most way-out moment – the treated strings, Kishi`s and Tony’s, transformed into squeaking and whistling pinpoints of sound. Stars guiding folks exploring its dub, sub-bass expanse.
The remaining 4 tracks are written and sung by the mighty Bim Sherman. His beautiful voice backed by Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah’s nyabinghi and a militant bottom-end thud. Dreamers berates those lost inside their heads and prejudices. Sherwood’s sonic experiments confined to a twang like a spring over-coiled, fit to bust.
On the whole Foundation Steppers is more restrained than the previous entries to New Age Steppers` canon. It`s more of a regular reggae record than its older siblings, and perhaps that’s down to the arrival of Bim. It`s calmer, less crazy, the SFX reigned in – stripped down to subtle lightning flashes, showers of audio shimmer. Bim`s terrific tonsils taking centre stage, the focus, and setting the sessions` overall tone. The usual mixing desk madness respectively reduced to a purr.