The end of the year is nigh, and our DJ’s have been reflecting upon 2015’s best album releases. As the year comes to a close, we have called on DJ’s to break down why ‘their’ album is the album of the year. Keep checking back for more of 2015’s best beats.
2015 Album of the Year Nomination:
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Bays
Label: The Drop
Review by Bobby Schenk
(DJ Reggae Rob of Rhythms of the Island, Sundays 4-6 am Fall 2015)
Reggae has been revolutionized with the evolution of this seven-piece band. They merge soul, reggae and jazz into a fluid and soul-wrenchingly beautiful idea. This is their fourth official album, off of Artists Owned and Operated, a self-release label based in New Zealand. The band further differentiates itself by being mixed electronically, manipulating the recorded instruments into a new beat, which compliments the front-man Joe Dukie’s vocals interestingly and elegantly.
This is not just a reggae band, and this is not just a reggae album. The presence of the seven-piece band lends a full, natural sound, backed by good dub back-beats and a knowledge of and appreciation for reggae sensibilities. Wairunga Blues, the first track off of the CD, starts with bluesy, bayou hint, in the use of tambourines. It then transforms itself into a funk-laced serenade, illustrating the story of a mother’s lament as she runs with her child.
While the album still has it’s sunny messages and tropical rhythms, it’s enjoyable because it doesn’t shy away from the dark. Blues is a heavy theme here, portrayed beautifully in the saxophones and trumpets. The jazz presence is strong here as well, leaning towards the new age with the electronic manipulation, as seen in Slings and Arrows. I love this album because it is complex. The sound is interesting, the reggae presence I love is still there, and it’s hit with a delectable dash of funk and jazz powder. Be sure to start at the beginning, and enjoy!
Thanks, Reggae Rob! Stay tuned for more reviews of 2015’s best albums.