Equal Rites: Lucia (Lion's Eye Productions) Rising up as an offshoot of local reggae celebs the Mystic Jammers, Equal Rites delves deeply into a highly percussive groove-adelic sound, part Afro-dance, part Caribbean hipsway. Led by singer/guitarist Lon Plynton of the Jammers and supported by singer Keli Garrett, drummer Matt Neibels, bassist Mibbit Threats, keyboardist Willie Myette, and percussionist Mackie Burnett, Equal Rites burns brightest and heats up most when they get their ensemble thing revving at full tilt. On 'Lucia' or 'When I Dream' the band conjures up the tropical nights of Trinidad when rum swizzles and an ocean breeze are the only things that'll cool off the performance of a great groove band. Plynton doesn't shy from mimicking a few guitar heroes, namely Carlos Santana on the stinging 'Running Back' and Chic's Nile Rodgers on the boogie-oogie of 'What Does It Matter.' A couple of acoustic numbers -- 'On the Street' and 'What Else' -- feature some nice guitar work on the part of guest John Booth, and they provide a nice breather from the ensemble's jazzy pushes, a vital effort from a gritty, versatile, and worthwhile local outfit. Equal Rites is a group based out of the New England area led by Lon E. Plynton who has been around and payed his dues. They refer to their style as 'Afro-Caribbean'. It has some reggae influences but it is also ripe with the calypso sound mostly due to the steel drum playing of Mackie Burnett. Some parts are over the top but before you get the wrong impression one can not help but admire the musicianship that is portrayed. I think the thing that is used to much is the programmed synth sounds. They add a bit of an artificial sound to the music. The songs themselves are quite original though. Be sure to hear the track 'On The Street'. A group to watch for.
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