STANDING AT THE CROSSROADS
Celebrating 20 years of a mission. AD has toured much of the world, they’ve met people from all races and cultures; the group has plenty of options as far as musical direction. They chose a lo-fi approach with much of the record. Listening to standing at the Crossroads you get lost in the groups expansive lyrical content, one fan with the tag “PumaSweat” posted on Youtube, “I don’t know if I am trying to wrap my mind around them lyrics or if the lyrics are wrapping themselves around my mind.
FYYYAAAAH!” I couldn’t agree more. With AD’s signature melodic/musical textures mixed with political savvy, each song leaps from serious to casual without warning.
Standing at the crossroads (SATCR) was primarily created during AD’s Australian, New Zealand, Bali and Malaysian tours. This project recorded entirely on a mac laptop, used sampling and mp3 chopping to build a cornerstone that would be embellished with Za & JJ’s live instrumentation. Add to that a cameo appearance from original member Rasa Don on the soulful “Nobody Can Replace your Love” & the eclectic “Everywhere I Go” also featuring Abigail Washburn a celebrated, claw-hammer banjo artist. It’s said that the songs were created with inspiration from early AD videos playing silently in the background. You can tell the award winning video for Living has inspiration from past visuals of the group.
SATCR bloomed despite, or maybe because of some of the hardest times in the groups 20 year career. Baba Oje, now 80 years old, suffered a major stroke in 2009 and has yet to regain his strength. Fans the world over consistently wish him well at ArrestedDevelopmentMusic dot com. Along with that change, members Tasha Larae & Montsho Eshe went back to school, leaving a revolving door of member auditions & sporadic changes to the groups live show line-up. AD feeling the financial crunch that’s affecting the entire world, wrote anthems like, “My Reflection“, that scrutinizes the megalomaniac position of rappers that don’t even hob-knob with the 1% but think they are among them. The song proudly celebrates the blue-collar worker and their values, while celebrating the groups tenacity. Possibly the most bitter pill to swallow is that this album may mark the last AD recording with the electrifying dancer/vocalist Montsho Eshe. It does however bring a welcomed return of Fareedah Aleem who appeared live with AD during the “Among The Trees” tours. One will be missed, while the others return is kindly welcomed. Otherwise, the line up remains the same with Za’ (bass), JJ Boogie (guitar), Tasha Larae (vocals) and rhymer, 1 Love all playing bigger roles. Therefore, the songs flourish with a consistent feel, that arguably top their previous albums, including their monumental debut.
SATCR is a musical feast with multi-layered production that harkens back to the bomb squad & vocally, not unlike John the baptist, Speech calls out from the desert with lyrics of self-determination and selflessness, leaning more towards spiritualism and love than hedonism and greed. I’ve been a fan since 1992, when I first heard the celebratory prayer of “Tennessee” while I was living in Ghana, Africa. I am even more a fan today, as they have proven to be what they claimed in their debut, a band that “wouldn’t sell out – just to be sold out” (Give a man a fish). This record is amazing, undaunted and swank; leaving the black, white, latin and asian man standing at the crossroads, with the choice of advancement or decline & no room for indifference.
By: Bright Boateng (Gold Star Herald Newspaper)