Review: Arise Roots – Love & War

Review: Arise Roots – Love & War


Arise Roots – Love & War
Track Listing:
1.) What a Shame (feat. Rootz Underground)
2.) Cool Me Down (Radio Edit) [Feat. Hirie]
3.) Give It Up
4.) Back To You
5.) Dangerous (feat. Matt Liufau)
6.) Fear Factory
7.) Love You Right
8.) Better Man
9.) Let Me Fly
10.) Lost In Your Ocean (feat. Dan Kelly)
11.) Warrior
12.) A Little More (feat. E.N. Young)
13.) Bring It All
14.) Cool Me Down (Extended Version)
15.) Cool Me Down (Dub Version)

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: August 5, 2014
Release Date: Arise Roots Music
Official Website: Arise Roots Website

Group Background:
Los Angeles has another Roots Reggae band to call its own. They go by Arise Roots, and they have recently released their sophomore effort titled, Love and War. This five-piece band is a group to look out for, as folks who went to the California Roots Festival in Monterey, California, already found out. Their debut album, Moving Forward, was met with positive reviews. As a result, several well-known artists in the reggae community offered their talent to a few of the tracks on this new album, such as Hirie, Dan Kelly, Matt Liufau, Rootz Underground, and E.N Young. The fact that such highly regarded artists contributed to this band’s album indicates that they believe the band is onto something. The band recorded their new album in San Diego, California, at the Imperial Sound Recording Studio, owned by E.N Young.

Album Review:
Arise Roots kicks off the album with a high-energy track featuring Rootz Underground, titled, “What a Shame.” Vocalist Karim Israel’s unique voice quickly welcomes new listeners with his distinctive accent. What’s unique about this track is that the abrupt ending is purposefully done so that the listener feels like the song is on the radio, as static is heard in the end of the song as someone dials into a station.

The band makes it clear they want “Cool Me Down” (feat. Hirie), to be the main attraction for the album, and for good reason. The song is paced at the right tempo, features a catchy horn section, as well as the voice of Hirie. The song ends with a captivating saxophone solo that complements the laid back feeling this song goes for. Although this version is short enough to be on the radio, the band includes two other versions to let listeners hear, how I believe the band intended their fans to listen to the song, in its entirety. The dub version of the song is a gem as the producer does a good job of adding the dub effects to the vocals and instruments without getting too carried away.

Although the producer, for the most part, did an incredible job at adding the right effects such as reverb and dub to parts of songs that merited certain effects, there are other parts where the dub echo is simply overdone. Such is the case in “Fear Factory,” where the vocals are echoed at the end of almost every line, and instead of having them fade out, the third echo repetition awkwardly hits the left ear louder than the previous two and then fades out.

Another thing that didn’t really go well with me while listening to this album was, at times, the lyrics repeat themselves more than they should. This was especially true in songs such as “Give It Up,” and “Back To You” – the latter of which proceeded to repeat the line, “Making my way back to you,” near the end of the track, no less than ten consecutive times.

The songs are great, and the potential for epic tunes is there, but it seems that the band could benefit from possibly merging some verses of songs together so they don’t go on for too long, thus cutting the time down in certain tracks. Of the 15 songs on the album, 5 of them are over four minutes with 5 tracks over five minutes & 2 over six minutes.

That’s not to say that all songs were guilty of going on for too long. Those who listen to “A Little More” (feat. E.N Young), will understand why this band is going places. This track is one of the band’s more upbeat and faster paced songs with a great inclusion of keys, a melodica solo near the end, followed by a sick breakdown that will certainly give fans a reason to dance. The chorus is the catchiest of the album, and packs a message that we all could use, as it says, “We need a little more you, a little more me, a little more us, a little more we, a little more life, a little more love. That’s what I’m dreaming of!” – This track, overall, goes well with the message that the title of the album goes for.

Overall, the album is enjoyable to hear, and the talent behind each instrument played is evident as well, so the nuances of lengths of songs are dismissed easily by the unique variances that each song delivers.

Written & Reviewed By: Juan Barragan

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]