Review: Mystic Roots Band – Camp Fire Vol. 1

Review: Mystic Roots Band – Camp Fire Vol. 1

Mystic Roots Band – Camp Fire Vol. 1
Track Listing:
1.) Earthquake
2.) I See You
3.) Things to Say
4.) We No Care (feat. Tippa Irie & Carter Lane)
5.) On It (feat. The Cali Kidd)
6.) Running (feat. Marko)
7.) Earth Song
8.) Mexico (interlude)
9.) WuNuLu
10.) Musica Reggae (feat. The Cali Kidd)
11.) Things to Dub
12.) Tonite (feat. Mykal Rose)
13.) Come Over
14.) Quicksand (feat. Shayne T & MJ)
15.) Glowing Light
16.) Camp Fire

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Record Label: Stay Positive Productions
Website: Mystic Roots Website

Group Background:
Chico, CA natives and reggae sensations nationwide, Mystic Roots Band is an infusion of dub, hip-hop, dancehall, and peace. After a three year journey touring as Pato Banton’s official band and the success of their last studio album Cali-HI allover the iTunes Reggae Charts in 2010, they have taken to festivals and shows all across the country and have not disappointed fans. Now they are back with their third studio album Camp Fire. This album is set to be released as a double disk, with the follow up being Fire (Vol. 2) set to be released September 3 as an EDM, Dub, Electro remixed album.

Album Review:
On an album complete with an array of vocal styles, Camp Fire delivers listeners with Katherine Ramirez’s smooth sound, while Cootdog takes over the emcee role. The two play off each other nicely, and add a ton of features including Tippa Irie, Carter Lane, The Cali Kidd, Marko, Mykal Rose, Shayne T, MJ, and C-Money of Slightly Stoopid on trumpet.

Throughout the album, Mystic Roots Band is able to incorporate their guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, and an entire horn section, which shines through on songs like “Things to Say” and “Earth Song,” a tribute song to Michael Jackson.

However, what really impressed me the most on this album was MRB’s ability to mix in hip-hop onto their already dub influenced sound. On the track “On It” featuring The Cali Kidd, the band pays tribute to the Oakland based, rap duo Luniz’s 1995 song “I Got 5 On It.” At first I was a little hesitant, but Katherine was able to lighten up the hook and give it a reggae sound, while Coot and the Cali Kidd dropped off the verses. If you listen closely you can get another classic hip-hop cover from the great Jay-Z around the 2:50 mark.

The song’s “Musica Reggae” featuring the Cali Kidd and “We No Care” featuring Tippa Irie and Carter Lane, also show this bands heavy dub, reggaetone and hip-hop influence, while it fuses well with their instrumentation. I really enjoy the combination of Katherine and Coot because of their ability to combine a female reggae voice over dub and hip-hop influenced verses throughout the album.

Even though there were some high points, the album as a whole isn’t timeless, as the remaining tracks cruise on. The song “Quicksand” featuring Shayne T and MJ had a lackluster vocal performance with a melody that wasn’t very enjoyable. Other songs like “Come Over” and “I See You” felt like filler songs with something to be desired from the lyrics and a sub-par melody.

Mystic Roots was able to play on some of their strengths with Camp Fire, and they should have cut this one down a bit from 16 tracks. After I let the album resonate after a few spins, I got to hear some good instrumentation, complemented by impressive features from Mykal Rose and Tippa Irie, but the album gets played out pretty quickly. For the first couple listens there are some really good tracks, but after a lot of spins there’s only a few songs I would go back to.

Written & Reviewed By: Andrew McClatchy

[Editor’s 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]