Giraffe Aftermath – Space Echo Beach Scene
1.) Rich Man
4.) Mother Earth
6.) Nothing Ever Happens
7.) Sleep Sleep
8.) Cali Song
9.) Why in the World
10.) Find Some
11.) Work It Out
12.) Now or Never
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: June 18, 2014
Official Website: Giraffe Aftermath Website
In the summer of 2006, Steve Hackenbruch and Luke de Villiers walked out of a daytime warehouse job and became the songwriting/production duo they called Giraffe Aftermath. United by the sound of reggae and dub music, they began writing and recording in a makeshift home studio. This project soon evolved into a full live band show and the release of a self titled album in 2008. Joined by the darkgroove of Paul Steffes on Bass, they quickly became regulars on the Vancouver music scene, playing a rich blend of deep, danceable music. With the release of “Sleepless Nights” in 2011 and the addition of jazz musicians Ian Weiss on saxophone and Jocelyn Waugh on trumpet to the roster, Giraffe Aftermath was becoming one of the top dub-reggae acts in Western Canada. A new studio album Space Echo Beach Scene was released on June 18th 2014.
From the opening of Space Echo Beach Scene I was immediately captivated by the distinct song-writing and playing style of this Canadian Quintet. Giraffe Aftermath can play & they can play very well with timing that is precise, while maintaining tons of feel and swallowing the listener in the giant pocket they open in every song. The lyrics are meaningful and the singing is heartfelt. Production wise, this album sounds awesome with great resonance on the low end and clear highs, making it an enjoyable listen from ear buds to Soundsystem! I really enjoyed the themes in this album, which are more mature than are typically heard on the scene. I mean there are songs about heartbreak, man’s struggle, etc… but they are approached from a different perspective.
The album commences with “Rich Man”, a slow, dirty grooving tune with thick harmonies and dub elements spanning a long 5:12. “Rich Man” is about what it truly means to be rich in life and also personal responsibility echoed in the line “talking bout owning up to our mistakes, Talking bout looking in the eyes when you saying it.”
“Brother” is a unique take on the breakup song where the song is sang from the viewpoint of a friend consoling another who has a broken heart. I felt a lot of comfort in this song and adds to the selfless ego nature of this record/band.
“Nothing Ever Happens” is more of your traditional Rock Steady type song, but something about the hook had me loving it. The song is about that person who can’t do as much as to get off the couch and take life matters into their own hands… Someone I am sure we all know. “You sit around and you dream for awhile, with your head in the clouds, longing for a day come and gone, for the good times you felt, smoking cigarettes wasting your time, get out and seize the day.”
“Cali Song” is one of my favorites on the album. The song starts with a beautiful pedal steel guitar and uke and paints California as the refuge to the modern man’s struggle. “Now or Never” is a mind warp of a song. A band that can change time signatures mid song without losing any groove will always have my support. I really dig this song and it is proof that Reggae can still be pushed to different places both challenging and stylistic and have mass appeal.
Space Echo Beach Scene is a great album all around based in Reggae music fundamentals, but with a very unique and alternative take. This is not through the typical genre bending that is so often heard, but through musicianship and what seems to be a true understanding of music and stylistic elements of Reggae. Giraffe Aftermath play with tons of feel and seem very comfortable exploring sonically. There is also depth and many layers of subtlety to this record… For example the sound of a received Text Message/Phone Alarm we can all relate too in “Sleep Sleep Sleep”. On it’s own, this can be overlooked, but in context of the song, it carried so much meaning.
I absolutely loved the drumming and precise breaks in many of the songs which really keep the listener guessing and engaged. At times while listening, I could draw comparisons to Ernest Ranglin, Steel Pulse, The Beautiful Girls, the Expanders and even Morphine. Really stoked on this album!
Written & Reviewed By: Tommy Dubs (of A Sunny Place For Shady People)
[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]