The U.S. reggae scene seems to the thriving and no less than four bands have put out albums during the past months. I’m talking about The Simpkin Project’s Beam of Light, The Green’s Marching Orders, Iya Terra’s Sacred Sound and Soja’s Poetry In Motion.
All these bands have a roughly similar sound with a hybrid of pop/rock and reggae. These bands are not as much rock as Rebelution and not as rootsy as Midnite. They are somewhere in between and offer a lightweight sound rooted reggae, but with influences from pop, rock, blues, dancehall and Americana.
Many songs sound like vacation tunes and offer a mouthful of sunshine and beautiful harmonizing. The production is glossy, polished and overwhelmingly radio-friendly. Check for example The Green’s All I Need, The Simpkin Project’s Some Thing’s Don’t Change and Soja’s Sing To Me.
The U.S. reggae scene has been growing for several years with many new groups and artists. These four bands – at least Soja, The Simpkin Project and The Green – are some of the more well-known and they have managed to attract an audience that is not necessarily hardcore reggae fans. Happy to see that they are spreading the reggae gospel.
I’ve just had my first encounter with Hawaiian six piece band The Green. They’re part of the burgeoning U.S. reggae scene with successful bands such as Groundation, Easy Star All-Stars, Soja, Rebelution and John Brown’s Body. And Midnite of course. Even though they represent the Virgin Islands.
Their third album Hawai’I ’13 was recently released and it went straight to the top of the Billboard Reggae Chart and #77 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.
And when listening to the 15 track set it’s easy to understand way. It’s easy accessible and just as appealing as a big scoop of chocolate ice cream on a hot and sunny day.
Some will probably dismiss this album and its fusion of reggae, pop and soul, with a slight touch of rock, as lightweight pop reggae. Well, yes, it is slick and it is as polished as a Wall Street bankers shoes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hawai’I ’13 is jam-packed with infectious melodies, skanking grooves, memorable hooks, beautiful four part harmonizing and sing-a-long choruses.
It can be a bit slick and sugary though. The piano ballad Chocolates & Roses is one such example. Luckily enough there are a number of standout tracks that will keep you interested – Good One and Something About It are two such examples.
Hawai’I ’13 is a positive album from start to finish and it sounds like a warm breeze on a beautiful beach. This is good times with a capital G.