Review: Tribal Seeds – Soundwaves EP

Review: Tribal Seeds – Soundwaves EP

Tribal Seeds – Soundwaves EP
Track Listing:
1.) Soundwaves
2.) I’ll Return Again
3.) Right On Time
4.) Slow
5.) In Your Eyes

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: July 19th, 2011
Record Label: Tribal Seeds Music
Official Website: Tribal Seeds Website

Group Background:
Based in sunny San Diego, Tribal Seeds have been churning out sun-bleached roots music with some added punk vibes for about six years now. They’ve toured nationwide and even gotten as far from the mainland as Guam. SoundWaves is their fourth release.

Album Review:
On their latest release, a five-track EP entitled SoundWaves, Tribal Seeds press on within the confines of the reggae-rock format, not really expanding upon the sound, but still offering another shiny, little ruby for the treasure chest that is the Socal reggae music scene. The Jacobo brothers & Co. continue to write songs about girls and good vibes, tempered every now and then with socio-political proclamations, but otherwise perfect mood music for summer days spent at the beach and summer nights at the bar.

The album opens with “Right On Time” which is an overall solid song, except for the guitar harmonies in the introduction. For some reason those harmonized guitar leads work wonders in a rock context, but I’ve never seen a reggae band pull it off. I guess not everything is complementary in reggae-rock.

“I’ll Return Again” takes a different turn from the somewhat straight ahead roots-rock vibes of “Right On Time” taking a lover’s rock Hi-Fi approach. Tony-Ray Jacobo’s synths hold a much more prominent role in the song’s atmosphere, arcing the song into a sensitive, ballad, which oddly reminds me of Gyptian’s 2010 summer smash “Hold Yuh.” They don’t really sound the same, but something in those vibes, buried deep in the groove, links the two songs in my mind.

“SoundWaves” lives up to its namesake, as rippling sound effects and synth sweeps soar across the dub shattered soundscape. Like fireworks in July, snare hits explode in mid-air and trickle across the backdrop as Steven Rene Jacobo and Eric Rachmany trade verses dissecting the power of music and sound on the human experience, their voices, too, slowly trailing off into darkness.

“Slow” does quite literally slow everything down. The track is a murky, hushed roots track, intoxicating like morphine, bringing the whole world to a near stand-still. It exacts a quixotic effect, periodically broken by mantra-like statements such as “wipe out the riches in your heart/realize that money couldn’t buy true love.”

I admit that I was kind of hoping “In Your Eyes” would be a cover of the Peter Gabriel song, but Tribal Seeds does a fine job with it as an original. It’s a fitting closer for the album, encapsulating almost every aspect of the four preceding tracks (except for the guitar harmonies, thankfully). There’s warm dub effects, bouncing rhythms, and romantic lyrics, and the energy even begins to reach its plateau on this track, surpassing every other track on the album in terms of passion and urgency.

Ending on a high-note, SoundWaves is a strong release that doesn’t really offer any expansion on the sound of Tribal Seeds or the sounds of SoCal in general, but it’s certainly a fine continuation of the group’s sunny reggae sound, and a beacon for great things to come.

Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro

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