In the process of finding the new releases for this week, I came upon a band I had never heard of called The Hip Abduction, and though there are plenty of bands I’ve never heard of that I pass over all the time, this one gave me pause. I checked out a few samples of their previous album on itunes and found them to be a fairly proficient act combining African grooves with reggae stylings. So I decided to purchase their new self-titled album to see what these Florida boys are all about.
The opening track is ‘Children Of The Sun’ with a dub start but a certain African undercurrent, that mesh well together. Almost like Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad getting together with Toubab Krewe for a rehearsed studio session. The kora sounds amazing and only adds to the positive vibe. The guest vocals are a step toward reggae credibility, but I think these guys will find out they are going to earn it easily without much help.
‘Live It Right’ is a pretty straight-up reggae tune with that beach sound. Something with such a great feeling and passion can’t be less than fantastic, especially when partnered with talent.
David New and Pat Klemawesch pull off some great harmonies and guitar work on the dub-reggae cut ‘Hideaway’. It is a really good song but doesn’t need Anthony B’s less than precise performance with a band that is this tight.
‘All Eyes’ has that slower dub feel, but with some incredible kora and horns. There is even a little southwestern U.S. flavor in places on this tune.
From the opening notes of ‘Holiday’, it screamed “RADIO HIT” to me. Not for attempting to be such, but for getting the formula just right by chance and striking chords with people. Often times a song about something as light as holidays, vacations, etc. becomes very popular by the masses for the light-hearted nature of the tune. It is possible, that the general music listeners won’t appreciate it as much as I do, but I can’t imagine not hearing the magic in this song.
‘Breathless’ gets going with some awesome percussion and goes into something a little more afro-beat. This one has a little of a Chris Berry and Panjea vibe, as well as the capability to become a large jam tsunami. As he has up to this point, Pat Klemawesch continues to impress with his kora playing.
‘La Resaca’ is a fairly traditional sounding African, possibly Malian, song with a little of the west’s rock tossed in. They even manage to creep a little reggae beat into this instrumental piece.
When ‘The Golden Sky’ starts it sounds like a reggae tune with a hidden African identity. This song represents well, just how powerful horns can be in reggae music. I am fond of the lyric, “Oh- Ay, Oh-Iy, fallin’ from the golden sky, waiting for a chance to spread our wings and if it doesn’t come we’ll have to learn to swim”.
‘Walk Away’ had a dub beat and some higher range vocals that made me think of Sade doing this tune with her exotic voice. It is a really cool mellower tune, but the performance is full on. The kora and the horns build this one up for a big finish. This song is a great example of the eclecticism of this group.
The blues vibe screamed immediately on ‘Why Say One’, but soon shouted from the rooftops that it is world blues, if not African blues. I’m intrigued by what sounds like two pieces of concrete being rubbed together, which works well to the organic nature of the music. The kora solo is extravagant and spine-tingling.
‘Elena’ has a slow somewhat African-rooted groove and with Andie Dilley’s Spanish vocals this one is impossible to put into a category. I would say you can put it under “S” for spectacular, especially for the wave of sound that crashes on this song in the form of the horns.
I was immediately taken with ‘Kala Pani’. The peacefulness as this song picks up speed, is remarkable. I can picture travelin down a long stretch of empty road with the sun on a blue sky above, possibilities ahead and lessons behind. It has a quick gallop and a undeniable positivity that is a fantastic way to end the album.
WOW!! That is a killer album. I will admit that I wasn’t crazy about the guest vocals on tracks 1 & 3, but they were terrific on ‘Elena’. Michael Goldwasser has produced albums for Matisyahu, Rebelution and Easy Star All Stars, and did the honors on this one. The way this 8-piece formulates their amalgam of reggae, rock and African music, is near perfection. The balance is superb and the skill is high caliber. If you like reggae, African music, world music or are adventurous, you should get this album. I will keep my fingers crossed that they make their way to Colorado in the near future. Enjoy!!
HAPPY LISTENING!!!! 😉