I am relatively new to reggae. It's not that I ever disliked it, but I've been exploring it a lot more recently than I have in the past. My exploration recently led me to a show at The Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa, where I saw Arise Roots. I was impressed with the band's set, which was both lively and thought-provoking. And how fortuitous - the band has a new album coming out.
Reggae has become a trendy thing - especially here in southern California. A lot of the bands inject just enough reggae sound to ride the wave of bands that is currently building. Arise Roots is no pretender. This is a band that is obviously familiar with traditional reggae. Bands like Black Uhuru come to mind when you listen to this band.
One standout song on this album is "Dangerous". It stands out for a couple reasons. First, it features guest vocalist Matt Liufau of Seedless. Second, this song stands out because the theme makes it easily relatable. It's about a girl who's dangerous because "she knows what she wants and she knows just how to get it" and because "she's the kind of woman that every man desires." When you hear this song, you can probably think of one person described by the lyrics.
Like a lot of reggae bands, Arise Roots is not afraid to sing about social issues. "Fear Factory" is a great example. In this song, Karim Israel sings about how we always have money to for war, but we never have anything to feed the poor. He certainly makes a good point. More than that, I always have to give credit to bands that can make you dance and think simultaneously.
This is a really solid album full of good reggae songs. If you're a fan of reggae at all, this album belongs in your collection. Love and War will be available on 5 August. Pour yourself a rum drink or an ice-cold beer, crank up the volume, and enjoy.