Single review: Miracle Worker – Superheavy (Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, A.R. Rahman)



(Universal Music) On release

Reviewed by Dave Collins

How do fidgety rock stars busy themselves during their downtime? By forming a supergroup with similarly loose-ended friends. SuperHeavy is a tag-team which at its heaviest-hitting end stars Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and Joss Stone. Buffed up with international swish from Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman (composer of the Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours soundtracks).

It’s a collective whose debut single dips a toe into the shallows of extra strength reggae. The ‘extra’ being soul vocals with rock guitar. However – music that may pump with muscular dub ‘n’ thump during a high end studio playback, can, on standard issue home audio sound, well, overcooked and/or sterile.

Certainly there’s enough ‘song’ and substance buried under the gloss, but an over polished production positions Miracle Worker at the wrong end of the reggae spectrum, leaving the backing track uncomfortably close to the white bread dynamics of UB40.

The irony here is SuperHeavy aren’t actually heavy enough. The single lacks the thick rhythmic fug and touches of Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One output or some dubbier dynamics. Hinting-at, but never quite hitting the genre’s heady textures.

As a song it’s a fine enough piece of pop built on a solid body of workable raw material and nippy top lines. As a production it’s in need of a snappier remix. To these ears, SuperHeavy should tighten up the loose Lovers Rock grooves and let Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry loose on the tune to wing in some vintage grit, shuffle and skank.

Dave Collins is editor of Planet Mondo and a regular contributor to Plectrum – The Cultural Pick

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