Since my friend Jordyn B. over at MLC PR hit me up with this album over a month ago, I’ve been (attempting to) bump it in my car, feeling the endearing affect of white boys doing reggae…and doing it quite well.
We are talking about Rebelution, whom you may remember has been running the game since their debut album in 2007, Courage to Grow. By running, I’m talking about maintaining a steady position in the 10 ten reggae albums chart for all this time. Yes the boys are that good.
Today, I’m pleased to tell you FINALLY that their sophomore album entitled, Bright Side of Life is out. Things have only gotten better this time around. Matt Velasquez was a good singer, but I think Eric Rachmany (I’m going to pronounce it Rock-Many, as it is more badass) is great. He gives me nostalgia of earlier 311’s Nick Hexum. Marley Williams is on bass, with a refined skill over his previous work, with Rory Carey keeping it steady on the keyboards. Wesley Finley is the shit on the drums, giving them a little bit more edge than usual reggae would have, but it’s all very welcomed in my book.
Already number six on the charts today, I want to break down what weapons were brandished to slay the opposition right out of the gates.
The intro song and title track, Bright Side of Life has a beautiful guitar shred piece that really warms you up the way an album should. The pieces of Wesley on drums when he beats the kick drum in a quick succession of six made me literally nod my head in approval as I ran the track back a few times for good measure. Also keep an ear out for the lovely horn section throughout.
Almost making itself my number one choice for songs on the album, track three, Outta Control is just that. The guitar in the chorus is amazing right after the silly keyboard/bass combo, and sick drum kick off pre-chorus. The songs not only keeps it upbeat musically, but also tackles the hit and miss tactics we try with ladies that don’t always work as we plan. I’ll admit, I change the chorus to “this shit’s outta control” every time I sing it, as I do the Funky Charleston with my little brother in our living room.
I can’t forget about the simple summer love song, Lazy Afternoon. Not to be confused with the track by The Roots’ 1994 Do You Want More song of the same name; this one is about spending the lazy day with the one you love (or your flavor of the week, whichever). This is truly a piece of the bright side of life.
But my favorite chunk of the album actually comes in the form of three songs together. Much like third, fourth, and fifth tracks of the Mars Volta’s The Bedlam in Goliath, I feel the same feelings for the sixth, seventh and eighth track on Rebelution’s latest work.
The first of the three is a down low beat called Too Rude, which I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to have this conversation with people (you know who you are). This is what reggae is about. People forget that just because it’s not as poetic, it’s more of message music. You can nod your head not only in agreement with what’s being said, but also to the dub styles and reggae flows that a song like this captured perfectly.
The second is actually an instrumental entitled Dubzilla, which originally I thought was part of the song that it flows seamlessly into. It has the perfect (what I like to call) morning horns throughout it, with the keys laying down a steady heightening number of notes along with the bass. The drums as always are sick on this track, with the cymbal work being particularly enticing.
After running the track before it back a few times, I reached the blend to the third part of my favorite piece of the album, Bump. This song is perfect for me, because I find myself having conversations with people about being true to you, gaining respect, and being there for other people. This is the bottom line rule about life, and we get it to a sick guitar solo in the middle of the song. I can’t get enough of the bass line, or the drum changeovers throughout it. This is what I say to Rebelution: this is what kind of music keeps you at the top, regardless of what haters will say.
This is album is incredible, and came along right in time to brighten your life during the summer time, with a message that is as positive as it is true. I’ll have the honor of spending time with the band at the West Beach Music and Arts Festival in mid September, in their hometown Santa Barbara.
Sales are probably going crazy already in the stores, so if you can’t find a copy, grab it on iTunes and bump it at the beach. It feels good to be right all the time about how good an album can be. Be a part of the Rebelution, I promise you’ll love it.
Until next time my friends,