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Free Love and Fighting

Sheffield’s finest eight-piece reggae rock group bring a fresh batch of wholesome grooves, punchy lyrics and good vibes with Free Love and Fighting.

The South Yorkshire octet waste no time, jumping straight into the offbeat rhythm you’re expecting. Shades of old school influence take hold on 'This Life', which has a classic reggae feel. Johnny Osbourne and Jimmy Cliff resonate throughout this banging opener, which is never a bad way to start.

'Never Stop' eases us in with tingly, Chili Peppers guitar tones. This is a track that really shows the group off as musicians, each member locking in perfectly to deliver a stellar groove.

The overtly political message of 'Pennies and Pounds' rings out as one of the strongest tracks here. The infectious tones and powerful lyrics - “Roll up another government vision / To bring your country down to the ground” - hark back to the social commentary of The Wailers on a poignant and important track.

The sounds of a smoky jazz club introduce 'Price We Pay', something with a totally different sound but which complements the rest of the release well. It lends itself to the rest of the songs as a refreshing addition, as the upbeat ska horns give us a feel of The Specials.

Steel City Rhythm offer a solid group of tunes here, all well produced and very well written. Free Love and Fighting provides something different and is hugely crucial to the diversity of the Sheffield music scene. Bravo.