Roots of Creation – Live! Vol. 1
1.) Oh Lord
2.) Universal Soldier
3.) Rise Up
7.) Watching the Detectives
9.) Peace Love & Music-Dubwagon XL-Revolution
Record Label: Harmonized Records/Bombshelter
The Pier Album Rating:
Based in New Hampshire, Roots of Creation have spent the past half of the decade touring relentlessly and building an avid fan-base with their jam meets reggae sound and energetic live shows, during which the band often pepper their original material with extended passages of improvised jams. In addition to their live output, the band has also released two studio albums, 2004’s The End of the Beginning and 2006’s Rise Up.
Roots of Creation have only released two studio albums thusfar, but to be honest, that come as no surprise after hearing their first ever live recording, Live Vol. 1. On this disc, the band chooses 9 of their best pre-2008 performances to showcase their raw, roots energy and instrumental firepower. Vocalist/guitarist Bret Wilson at times sounds like Bradley Nowell revived, spouting rapid-fire rude boy delivery, while wailing away with an echo-laden guitar-rock reggae pot of psychedelia. He’s especially reminiscent of the late Sublime frontman on the album’s first track, Oh Lord, a red-hot piece of reggae magic, where Wilson spits hot fire with evocative detail about his favorite late night activities with his favorite girl.
Although Oh Lord riffs on themes of carnal desire, Roots of Creation are a band very much steeped in politics in both word and deed (the band has repeatedly raised money in support of various social and environmental causes). The next two tracks, Universal Soldier and Rise Up, point fingers and wave flags in the face of injustice and oppression, ranking with the likes of Michael Franti in terms of both incendiary lyricism and downright funk.
But in all seriousness here, let’s forget about the songs, because honestly, if you want to talk about the songs, go buy one of the studio albums. This is a live album, and it’s essential for a band like Roots of Creation to offer their fans slight reminiscences of their live shows because this is where the band thrives. Roots of Creation are a group of individuals who are more than competent as technical musicians, but what is even more important is the band knows how to play together, complementing and vibing off one another like one giant, well-oiled reggae machine. However, since this is a live album from what is more or less a jam band, listeners be warned that some of these songs really get stretched. The fittingly titled Void for example stretches on for nearly 15 minutes, and while the band does have several fiery instrumental passages and hypnotic psychedelic meandering, there are times when this listener felt as if he’d fallen into a black hole, but, nonetheless, when I came out on the other side to greet the more streamlined, radio-friendly Woman, I felt like I’d been rewarded for sitting through a strange journey through the land of reggae, rock, funk, and even a hint of electronica.
The band is well-rounded stylistically, able to pull of a variety of genres even within the same song, which I admit is an excellent boon for helping listeners to endure the extensive excursions through the outer limits of their studio material. Even though sometimes you’ll be listening to the same song for nearly ten minutes, rest assured that very little will be the same within that song.
Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro
Click Here to read the review for Vol. 2
[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]