Hands down, one of the hardest workers on the independent scene is Alex Varughese. The Cold Lake, Alberta native is a veteran of the rock and metal brigades with Sugakane, Vela and Kingdoom, blues gurus Jimmy & The Sleepers, and has recorded and toured with Econoline Crush, The Steadies, and Big Sugar, among others.
With rotation on MuchMusic, awards at home and in Memphis, he's crafted his trade working in Canada and in LA, and he's gifted enough that he can do things his way. His latest foray is actually the eighth album he's recorded - his rastafarian alter-ego Lex Justice. And 2017's CRAZY WORLD isn't out of the norm for him, but merely an extension of the complex personality of someone with a wide array of influences.
Calling it one of the best records of the genre in recent memory is actually an injustice (pun intended), or at least an understatement. Yes, it's reggae - but that's just the main course, with a dash of rock, a sprinkling of jazz and R&B, and some blues on the side.
The title track leads it off and sets the table for a 40+ minute delicasy with slick grooves in "Fly On The Wall," "Emergency," and the keys-driven "Kingston To Bombay."
The theme of "Love Heart & Soul, the sweet sax-laden "Where Is Your Love," and "Hate Is Love" might seem the same on the outside, but like any good treats they all have their own special appeals. The title track and "Drug Dealah" show off Alex Varughese the songwriter - well crafted socially conscious numbers without judgement but with a message.
The production is solid, with guitar licks that cut like a knife, but smooth enough to spread nicely. CRAZY WORLD is palatable not just to the most staunchest of reggae fans - but also digestible by the casual fan, simply looking for a well produced fresh spin on the classic vibe. Whichever customer you are, there's something on the menu for you.