Review: The Alchemystics – Spread Hope

Review: The Alchemystics – Spread Hope

The Alchemystics – Spread Hope
Track Listing:
1.) Type A Prayer
2.) Let Them Know
3.) Dance Upon the Corner
4.) Mosh UP
5.) What We Need (Spread Hope)
6.) Summer Life
7.) P.W.M.
8.) Let Them Dub
9.) Be The Change
10.) Leaving Babylon
11.) Holiday
12.) Dedication
13.) Shine I
14.) Don’t Leave
15.) Elements
16.) We Can Overcome
17.) Fly Away Home

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: May 30th, 2011

Group Background:
Formed in 2003, the Alchemystics fuse reggae and hip-hop to form a beat-laden mold of world conscious groove music. Powered by deep rhythms, meditative vocals, and old-school harmonies, the band has shared the stage with reggae luminaries such as Stephen Marley, Sister Carol, and Burning Spear. In addition to their musical pursuits, each bandmember is heavily involved in local youth activism and various social initiatives.

Album Review:
The name Alchemystics is both an oddly fitting and oddly misleading name for this group, depending on how you view the primary objectives of alchemy and the primary objectives of this band. The ancient tradition of alchemy was focused upon the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone, which would have the ability to turn base metals into silver or gold. On Spread Hope the Alchemystics blend a wide variety of genres, including reggae, ska, calypso, and hip-hop, to form their own concoction of bass-heavy groove music. While I can’t in good conscious say that those genres are the base metals which the Alchemystics turn to gold, the metaphor nonetheless stands.

Small elements ranging from Afro-Caribbean percussion to Rasta mysticism to short, staccato stabs of funk guitar slither through the ranks of these seventeen tracks amidst a bubbling foam of positive vibrations and skank rhythms. As reverb drenched snare hits clash with Force’s socially conscious lyrical content and latin percussion sizzles through the mix, the band rigorously displays their knowledge and mastery of various genres. Through this molding, they speak not only as musicians, but as global citizens, modern day humans throwing their own two cents into the conversation of multi-cultural cooperation and exchange. The music is thrilling and evocative for the most part, combining elements from fields as far as the eye can see into a simmering pot, seeping out a delicious stew of eclectic influences, all based in the universal concept of rhythm and groove.

While many of the tracks grab your ears and thrust your mind into meditation, seventeen tracks is really a bit too much. There’s filler here, unfortunately, but had this album been split into two albums or even just one album and an E.P. it might be easier for the average listener to digest. However, in the age of IPOD playlists and ‘shuffle’ features, does that really even matter?

Don’t let the length scare you away from this album, though. While there’s certainly a lot of material to wade through, the latest offering the Alchemystics has plenty of tracks just ripe for summer listening (like “Summer Life,” obviously, a celebration of the postiive summer vibes over a bouncing, dancehall groove), as well as inspiration to seek positive growth in a wounded world (“Be The Change,” “Leaving Babylon,” “We Can Overcome”)

Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro

[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]