Review: Fortunate Youth – Irie State of Mind

Review: Fortunate Youth – Irie State of Mind

Fortunate Youth – Irie State of Mind
Track Listing:
1.) I.S.M.
2.) Reggae Radio
3.) Trippin
4.) Alibi
5.) Skankin
6.) Love Is the Most High
7.) Jah Music (Feat. Matt of Seedless)
8.) Melody
9.) Tossin
10.) Sweet Love
11.) Farmer (feat. Juan Rios of Seedless)
12.) Bastard (feat. Susie Liufau)

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: July 1st, 2011
Official Website: Fortunate Youth Website

Artist Background:
Fortunate Youth is a collaboration of South Bay reggae stand-outs. Rising from various bands, they’ve created a phenomenal 7-piece masterpiece bringing more fire to the stage than ever before. Combining rootsy vibes and unique bass lines united with multiple harmonies, boisterous guitar solos, and heavy keys separates Fortunate Youth from every other mainstream reggae band. With their high energy approach and positive stage presence they provide an unforgettable show to every music fan. Fortunate Youth’s objective is to ensure a performance that leaves you feeling euphoric.

In early 2010 Fortunate Youth released their debut EP comprising of six original, reggae tracks. The Release of Irie State of Mind in July of 2011 marks the completion of their first full-length album, containing 12 more original tracks.

Fortunate Youth have had the honor to share the stage with bands such as Groundation, Toots & The Maytals, The Abyssinians, The Wailers, Katchafire, Tribal Seeds, Dirty Heads Natural Vibrations, and Sashamon. Shortly following the release of Irie State Of Mind, Fortunate Youth will be touring through multiple cities down south with reggae rockers Sand Section.

Album Review:
Fortunate Youth’s Irie State of Mind proves that the near year and a half long wait for a full-length album was well-worth it. As some modern reggae bands choose to rebel against the general classification of their music under one specific genre, the path that Fortunate Youth travels is easily distinguishable. The resonating vibes of Fortunate Youth’s straight-line reggae talents are built from delicate skank rhythms and the sharp voice of lead singer Dan Kelly with support from Guitarist Ryan Gonzales AKA Gonzo and Percussionist Travis Walpole. This album also includes two tracks that feature members from west-coast tour-mates Seedless. Overall it was the phenomenal vocals that win my ears and mind over, but without harmony of the music where would reggae be today?

It’s hard to get over how well the vocals flow over the heavy basslines and easy skanking on the electric keyboards. If you have ever listened to Seedless’ music you will be able to draw a parallel between them and Fortunate Youth’s lead singers. Sure you can argue their voices aren’t prodigious but they have excellent vocal control and range, and their minds work fast enough to sing at a faster pace than most would be capable of.

The album actually begins with no singing, in the hazy dub I.S.M. It quickly gains momentum into Reggae Radio, blaring from the beginning with a partially muted guitar lick that eventually breaks it’s form into the classic first and third beat-emphasized drum progression. Reggae thrives upon that progression primarily, and it’s often what instigates concert-goers to bounce with the beat at a live performance from a band similar to this.

Alibi is a track about the lack of trust in an ex-partners ways, and how it will not be tolerated anymore; “Now I see you my love, and you been doing wrong ,and I’ve let this gone on for way too long”. At about three and a half minutes the song just erodes into an intense guitar solo over some chords from a minor scale. A few seconds later the solo secedes and the rhythm melts into an echoic dub.

You can definitely, positively identify that they are a seven-piece band by just listening. So much detail is saturated into each song. The bongos are present in the background of almost every song and at points I am convinced there are two keyboards in play. All the individual sounds are compiled into one smooth, mellow harmony.

Jah Music is one of the two songs featuring a member of Seedless. Matt Liufau of Seedless not only sings, but freestyles about the reggae music: ”If it’s in your soul, come dance with us” over one of the faster paced skank rhythms and simple but very fitting bass lines. The song changes tempo multiple times, back and forth between Liufau and Kelly. The other seedless-influenced track titled Farmer features Juan Rios and contains yet another excellent harmony in the chorus about blazing up, singing to those of the ease and relief brought by the herb. The last song, Bastard features the soothing voice of Matt Liufau’s sister, Susie. If you like the occasional rap thrown in you will enjoy the verses; the vocals flow with ease.

Sweet Love begins with a swaying drum beat behind another skank progression on the electric keys. With the bongos calmly trotting along and a slight wah effect on each ever-present guitar lick, Fortunate Youth wonders, “Can I get enough of your love?” It is my number one on the album. The voices of each singer are implemented in producing such a melodious chorus.

I’d go on to explain why I like every song however I figured fans will benefit the most from listening to each track compared to just reading about it. Pick up the album on Itunes, as this is one of my personal favorites of the year so far.

Written & Reviewed by: Matt Emodi

[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]