Outlaw Nation – Back In Babylon
1.) Back in Babylon
5.) Love & Music
7.) Free Your Mind
8.) Rock Da Beat
9.) Inside Of You
11.) Watch Out (Caution)
12.) Positive Dub
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: October 18th, 2011
Record Label: Stoopid Records
Official Website: Outlaw Nation Website
Outlaw Nation’s “Gutter Reggae Soul” undoubtedly reflects the cultural significances in New Orleans-style music. The unique jumble of reggae, ska, and alternative rock has been the prescription for success as the members of Outlaw Nation have been writing and performing music for 12 years. In that time Outlaw Nation has toured the nation on plenty of occasions and have even been recognized for their hit single “Pass The Doobie” which was released in 2003.
Outlaw Nation signed with Stoopid Records, which is Slightly Stoopid’s independent label. They have toured with label mates Slightly Stoopid and The Expendables and are proud to call them family. In December, the group will hit the road for a seventeen-day tour of locations primarily on the West Coast.
Outlaw Nation’s latest release stretches back to the roots of reggae and dancehall by utilizing high frequencies and buoyant riddims. Optimism not only trickles from each message but through each rhythm and their respective melodies.
“Back In Babylon”, the album-titled track will give you a definite indication about what Outlaw Nation is all about. It kicks off with a hip-hop style drum progression that is eventually united to a partially muted skank rhythm and a keen secondary riff. Although Babylon often has negative connotations in reggae music, the feel of this song totally negates any feelings of struggle.
There are a few things about this album that really protrude the bounds of an average reggae or dancehall album. First of all, they did not try to cover up their use of the drum machine. The DJ’s work really carries each harmony on its shoulders. Each measure contains a typical amount of hi hat cymbals. Outlaw Nation really used rhythm to their advantage with their newest album. “Watch Out! (Caution)” even features some vocal percussion with a beatboxer.
“Celebration” reminds me of a Peter Tosh track. Simeon’s voice and accent is comparable to some of Jamaican reggae’s finest. However, I found it hard to comprehend lyrics at times due to their heavy use of a vocal filter. In this song however, it is easy to determine that Outlaw Nation wanted people to dance and sing. The “soul” that has become a label for New Orleans-style music is well represented in this album. Although there are messages from a socialistic standpoint, much of the album unreservedly expresses happiness.
The song “Danger” provides a contrary message but uses a quite similar rhythm. I found that the guitar simply sways from one note to its neighbor, providing a similar frame for the whole album works. In “Danger” the focus is on marijuana law and avoiding the government, a common theme amongst both the legends and contemporaries in the industry.
Outlaw Nation bounds elements of historic reggae and dancehall to more modern production techniques with the release of Back In Babylon. The rhythmical structure carries an upbeat vibe throughout Back In Babylon, while messages of happiness and social awareness ease your mind.
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]