Review

Trenton and Free Radical just dropped their “Unity In Diversity” album and there’s a festival to go with it

If anything, Trenton and Free Radical are a reggae-hip-hop-hybrid, socio-political narrative with a whole lotta love for Africa.

They just dropped their brand new album Unity In Diversity and its central message is a reminder of just that: in a time when the social, political and environmental issues are driving the world into factions at the smallest trigger, this album is a reminder that there is resilience in diversity. And I stand by.

Driving that message home is the launch of their upcoming festival: Muizenberg Unity Jam. The brainchild of guitarist Marco Wielander and inspired by a similar even the band held in Langa township 5 years ago, it’s a space to bring Capetonians together in the name of music.

But back to the album. True to it’s title in every way right down to the experimental diversity of it’s sound, Unity In Diversity zig-zags across the sonic map. Built to uplift and encourage, “No Ceiling” kicks off the offering with polished Afro-pop production. Quirky truths drop through to ’90’s synth beat of “Staring At My Phone” – while “Fire In Your Mind” takes classic electro reggae head-on.

Perhaps the only connecting thread which stitches the album together (right through to the kick-back remixes which wrap it up, and the rallying call for change which is “Wasteland”) is the prevailing socio-politial narrative of the modern human condition.

The Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra jump in for a closing rendition of “Mr Mandela” and man, does Trenton Birch have a way of paying homage to the greats.