Review: Spiritual Rez – Apocalypse Whenever

Review: Spiritual Rez – Apocalypse Whenever

Spiritual Rez – Apocalypse Whenever
TheRez_CoverTrack Listing:
1.) Man’s Hands
2.) Anunnaki Invasion!
3.) Bring It On
4.) Don’t Be Afraid
5.) Decisions
6.) One Big Song
7.) Who’s Gonna Come?
8.) March of the Reptoids!
9.) Let’s Go Out With a Bang
10.) Agapoula Mou (part 1)
11.) Agapoula Mou (part 2)
12.) Worker Bee
13.) What It’s All About
14.) The Rapture!

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: February 15th, 2014
Official Website: Spiritual Rez Website

Group Background:
Hailing from Boston, MA, Spiritual Rez, or simply The Rez, is the seven-piece reggae-rock-funk band known for high-energy live shows. The band formed over a decade ago and has shared the stage with reggae legends like Toots and The Maytals, Steel Pulse and Barrington Levy, along with funk legend George Clinton and The Parliament Funkadelic. Spiritual Rez released their first album in 2005, which was followed up in 2006 by Rising In The East. The band’s most recent release, Apocalypse Whenever is The Rez’s fourth independent, full-length studio release.

Album Review:
In most ways Apocalypse Whenever feels like your standard rock-reggae album, full of catchy, sing along choruses and socially conscious themes. The album combines “end of days” themes—hence the album title—love songs, a couple instrumentals and an anti-establishment punk song. The album starts out strong with “Man’s Hands,” and “Bring It On.” The latter tune is a smooth reggae song with a very singable chorus. “Man’s Hands” is a John Brown’s Body-sounding tune with a strong bass line and progressive horn sounds. “Let’s Go Out With a Bang” is another apocalypse-themed song about sex before the world ends. After all, when the world is ending, there is nothing left to do, but each other.

The strongest song on the album is “Agapoula Mou.” Translated as “my love,” the song was written for songwriter/band leader Toft Willingham’s wife. The well written and personal song has an island-vibe and takes the listener on an adventure of finding the “right” love. Not-to-mention the tune is full of sage advice from Willingham’s family about the mysteries of love. “How will I know?” he asks, “You’ll just know” replies Willingham’s father. “Agapoula Mou” is relatable, personal and gets stuck in the listener’s head—all key ingredients to a great song.

The remaining three songs, “Worker Bee,” “What’s It All About” and “The Rapture!” finish off the album on a down note. “Worker Bee” is punk-type song with reggae elements and over-the-top vocal distortions. The arrangement is completely different from the rest of the tunes—making “Worker Bee” feel out of place. “What’s It All About” is a feel good, jazzy song about the important things in life. The song’s message is relatable, but the lyrics and arrangement—full of horns and strings—come across as cheesy and cliché. Finally, another oddly placed song, “The Rapture!” is an instrumental that sounds nearly identical to Saturday Night Live’s outro. I expected to hear Jonah Hill saying, “thank you Justin Timberlake and our musical guest Phoenix…” —but, sadly, it never happened. In all, the final three tracks feel like fillers and drag down an otherwise strong album.

Written & Reviewed By: Kit Chalberg

[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]