Lovd Ones – Thicker Than Blood
2.) My Lord (ft. Sizzla)
4.) Don’t Let Go (ft. Horizon)
5.) How Many Times
6.) Slow Down (ft. Gonzo of Tribal Seeds)
7.) Warm Eyes
8.) The One
9.) Rally Round
10.) Morning Sun (ft. Luciano)
11.) Rio De Paz (ft. Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D.)
12.) Through Bars
13.) Hold Onto Hope
14.) Babylon Land (ft. E.N Young of Tribal Seeds)
15.) Sail Away (ft. Leilani Wolfgramm)
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Record Label: JahMen Music Group
Official Website: Lovd Ones Website
Lovd Ones are a progressive Roots Reggae band hailing from Orlando, Florida. Created and fronted by Benjah (Dove® Award-winning, GRAMMY®-nominated Songwriter, Producer, and Engineer), Lovd Ones is a collaborative project that features many different artists that are united in recognizing that truth prevails over darkness and love can unify all.
In 2011, Benjah released Lovd Ones debut album alongside his longtime cohort Dillavou entitled Introducing… Lov’d Ones. The album featured a reggae, world, hip hop mash up sound and hit #2 on the iTunes Reggae Charts. The debut caught the attention of many and were invited to perform at the Bob Marley Nine Mile Festival in Miami, Florida alongside artists such as Stephen, Damian, and Kymani Marley, Inner Circle, Slightly Stoopid and many others
Thicker than Blood, is a strong Alternative-Reggae release from Florida based producer/musician and front man, Benjah. At 15 songs, the album is packed with guest artists and songs ranging from dancehall to Pop. Enlisting the help of Reggae legends Luciano and Sizzla, as well as more up-n-coming artists on the Cali-Roots scene like Gonzo and E.N Young, Thicker than Blood has a flavor for anyone.
Technically, the album is produced to a very high standard and sonically stands up to anything that is being released today. The album is very polished, and for my taste, I think the vocals are a little too processed throughout the album, which leads to somewhat of a similar coloration across the 15 songs. At the same time, I really think this is more of a style preference and do not look at this as a negative towards the album.
The harmonies, especially in the vocals, are huge throughout the album and the musicianship is top notch. It’s refreshing to hear so much attention paid to thick harmonies and this album has no shortage of them. Lovd Ones fall somewhere between Michael Franti and Wyclef Jean, focusing less on one style and more on the inclusion of all island influences, blending that with Pop and R&B. There are also a ton of Hip-Hop beats and acoustic guitars which really makes sense for the above comparison.
“My Lord” is a nod to the Junior Reid conscious hit “One Blood” and features the vocals of dancehall champion, Sizzla. Showing his wide range, Sizzla brings it from low growling chanting, to falsetto singing, all in the same line. I love when legends from JA collaborate with the scene in the states, elevating this album with this collaboration.
“Warm Eyes” mixes a hip-hop beat with a minor verse structure that is juxtaposed against a major key chorus change that really gives the song a great effect. There is so much I like about this song from the content to the vocal performance. “Rally Round” bumps with so much positive energy, it’s truly an infectiously addicting song. It has a little bit of everything including dance-hall chanting beautiful hooks and bridges.
“Rio De Paz” – feat. Sonny Sandoval (POD) is a warrior song blaming oppression and lack of any real direction or leader as the cause of the bloodshed we see in the world today. This song really resonated with me because of the recent World Cup in Brazil and the world seeing the controlled image of Brazil rather than the war that rages in the Favelas.
Thicker Than Blood is a great album which infuses so many elements of popular music to the Reggae Sound. Benjah is a very talented producer and the quality of the album is amongst some of the best of the year. I found myself wanting a little more bass in some of the tracks and thought it was potentially mixed low, but again this is just a matter of taste. This album is for fans looking for a little more out of their music and who can appreciate top notch production. With so many catchy songs on the album I am a little surprised at the song lengths! I was stoked on the 15 songs, and glad they ran longer with most over running over 4 minutes, many over 5. That’s a tall order for radio play… but that’s not what this is about now is it?
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]
Watch: Lovd Ones – “Fiyah”
Watch: Lovd Ones – “Hold Onto Hope”