Stone Senses – Exception to the Rule
1.) When You Were Young
2.) No Turning back
3.) Good Day (To Start a Riot)
4.) Carry On
5.) Sharks in the Bongwater
7.) Exception to the Rule
8.) Tuff Guy
9.) Johnny B. Goode
10.) Like I Told You
11.) I’m Calling
12.) Your House
13.) Open-mind (Revisited)
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: March 17th, 2011
Record Label: Broken Crown Records
Since 2004, The Stone Senses have served as an intermediary between feel-the-vibe rock and classic roots/reggae. Since their birth into the Cali-scene, the Carlsbad natives have performed five hundred times with some of reggae culture’s most beloved acts such as The Wailers, The Dirty Heads, Rebelution, Soja, and the list goes on. It only took The Stone Senses one album to gain popularity within the scene with hits such as Broken Crown, Open Mind and Wash Away. With their third full length album, Stone Senses continue to fuel their hybrid reggae with messages saturated with mature and meaningful context.
Stone Senses have had no problem creating a sound appealing to the ears of the reggae nation for nearly 7 years now. This album is a showcase of their musical talent. The quest for success in the music industry begins with the ability to match talents and achieve a common musical direction amongst a band’s members. After that it’s all about the groups who differentiate themselves and find a comparative advantage through their music. Exception to the Rule is an incredibly unique compilation, fusing high frequency rock guitar solos with a hazy wah-filled skanking rhythm.
It’s what lies between the cracks in this album; almost everything is supplemental to each other. Not only stemming from the combined talents of two singers, but from the complexity and diversity of the musical elements. Good Day ( To Start a Riot) is one of my favorite songs, reminding me of late 90’s Authority Zero saturated with a vibe-conscious skank progression. It seems that every section of the song that is absent of rebellious lyrics is lifted up by a heavily distorted guitar solo, which are prevalent throughout Exception to the Rule.
Track number nine may look familiar—Chuck Berry’s classic Johnny B. Goode in reggae form. Stone Senses did an incredible job transforming the song from classic rock n’ roll to their own style without taking anything away from the talent Mr. Berry supplied in the original.
In many tracks, the theme is accompanied by the general feel of the tempo, melody, and how the singer shifts his voice. The one exception is the instrumental Sharks in the Bongwater; where the combination of the dub-like guitar, double-bass pedals, and clashing cymbals represent the image of one realizing that there is a shark swimming in their bong! Tuff Guy is my favorite on the album. The message is pointing the finger at the classic ignorant, insecure Tuff Guy as the title reads. Singing about the disrespect this individual has, he sits waiting for this guy to call him out, just to be able to bring the heat to him. All in the meantime, the music bends right along side of the theme. The faster rhythm and bassline builds up to where he mentions going into war with this tough guy. Then the high-frequency power chords kick in, transforming into a hard rock-out as the hair on my arms start standing on edge—one of those feelings.
So I do enjoy the faster, raw songs written by Stone Senses better, but there are definitely some keepers amongst the straight chilled out songs. A few of the more mellow songs sound alike, but I do enjoy No Turning Back, a song singing about moving on from struggle to respecting what’s good in life. Though the devil tries to mock my every step, I cast him out and learn to let go of regret.
Overall, most developed album by Stone Senses in my opinion—listen to the whole thing. It is too diverse to sum up by just a few songs. I recommend some decent speakers, the walking basslines are well-defined and make it that much better for complete enjoyment.
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]