California reggae band Soul Majestic’s sunny fourth album Setting the Tone was financed through a successful Kickstarter campaign. And I’m grateful to all the hardcore fans that helped with the funding, because this is an excellent soundtrack for the summer. Or a dark and dreary winter day for that matter.
The band’s previous albums were recorded and mixed in various studios with different engineers and producers working behind the desk. But this time they were in charge of all things creative and the album was recorded in their own studio.
Soul Majestic has previously worked with reggae legends like Sly & Robbie and Anthony B, but also Queen Omega and Tony Moses. And they push the boundaries of contemporary reggae with their eclectic mix of roots reggae, pop, R&B, folk, country and even some psychedelic rock. It’s a partly unknown territory with beautiful melodies, dangerous dub and some electronic details.
The arrangements are sparse, often using only the bare essentials like bass, drums, keys and guitar, but sometimes also adding strings and horns. In comes the angelic vocal harmonizing and alternating male and female lead vocals. It’s sublime, beautiful and uplifting.
Soul Majestic is a name that comes with great obligations, but they manage to fulfil and deliver accordingly. A high quality and joyous album.