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Elephant Man Higher Level

"Unhappy is the land in need of heroes." And nowhere is Brecht's maxim more apt than Jamaica, a part of the "Third World" seen only as a vacation spot by most Americans. Seaview Gardens, one of Kingston's most downpressed ghettos, is where Elephant Man began doing studio work in the early '90s. Over a decade later, this hyper manic vocalist with an uncontrived eccentric personality is a Jamaican hero, and his popularity has expanded on a global scale. His latest full-length, the follow-up to the wildly successful "Log On," sees Elephant Man untrammeled, moving and vocalizing like a super ball in a rubber room, his distinctive lisp only adding to the energy level. "Tall Up Tall Up" is a standout: spiky, opera stabs and a decaying swingbeat rhythm make this a bizarre and relentless track. And there are many others on this furious record.

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