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Nothing To Dread Biography

Nothing to Dread is a little-known Christian reggae band formerly known (before their "rebirth") as The Blue Flames. And when I say "Christian reggae" I don't mean that they perform reggae and just happen to be Christian -- for a number of reggae artists are Christian -- I mean that they are overtly, in-your-face Christian. It's sort of like the difference between Puff Daddy and Kirk Franklin. That said, why is it that reggae artists can croon Rastafarian ideology until the cows come home and it remains cool and righteous, while singing Christian ideology (which is rare in reggae, although there's some gray area since Rastafarianism involves many Christian elements) is often considered preachy and corny? Certainly, it has something to do with the prevalence of Christianity (and the relative rarity of encountering Rastafarianism, especially here in the USA, which gives it a sense of "otherness") and the fact that so many people get beaten over the head with it throughout their lives that there's bound to be some backlash (You don't hear too many people being oppressed by Rastafarians.). However, at least as large a part has to do with the fact that a large portion of Christian music is so damn corny and Osmond-esque happy-go-lucky. When Christian music gets more in touch with the pulse of the populace -- as with Kirk Franklin's hip-hop stylings -- it may get a better image, but until then... (Of course, I should make a distinction between "gospel" -- i.e., traditionally soulful, black music -- and "Christian" -- i.e., traditionally white bread, stuck in 1950's Pat Boone mode.). That brings me back to Nothing to Dread, who display on Reggae Praise an ability to perform catchy, celebratory mainstream roots ("Come to Me" and "God Is Able" are genuinely enjoyable); however, they also show a distinct ability to play fingers-against-blackboard irritating tripe, the type of music that makes you want to slap a Mormon. Though this is technically roots reggae, the most rootsy song here sounds like The Police. I approached this album with a fairly open mind, but music aside, Nothing to Dread isn't going to win over many reggae fans with their attitude toward, as their liner notes state, "the pagan customs of their reggae community." To adopt the "dread" look and Rasta-dominated sound and yet denounce the entire culture that so integrally ties into it is hypocritical, prejudicial, and career-wise, suicidal.
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