Northern California’s reggae celebrities Groundation recently dropped Building an Ark, their seventh studio album, following 2009’s Here I Am.
This nine piece outfit was formed in 1998 by guitarist/singer/lyricist Harrison Stafford, keyboardist Marcus Urani and bassist Ryan Newman. Other members have fluctuated over the years, but have always included a brass section and strong backing vocals.
Groundation are no strangers to influences from non-reggae genres, and their albums – Building an Ark included – have been an eclectic melting pot of roots reggae, dub, jazz, funk, soul and salsa spiced with pop melodies.
Building an Ark has a distinct energetic live feeling throughout the ten tracks and also shows great musicianship via arrangements and several solos – guitar, trumpet, trombone and percussion particularly get the opportunity to show off.
The thing with Groundation though is Harrison Stafford’s singing style. It’s certainly an acquired taste, being nasal, nervous and dramatic. But the progressive musical backing along with soulful female backing vocals makes Building an Ark worth a few spins in the record player.