Reggae returns to its roots
If one can find their way to an island, however many miles away, there’s now an album for the journey to paradise. Reggae-alternative band Iration released their seventh album Coastin’ just in time for a summer soundtrack. It’s filled with several features on these tracks including Eli Mac, Eric Rachmany and Common Kings. Infused with an array of different genres, this album is truly a melting pot of what this group is capable of.
“We wanted to musically take people on a journey,” said lead singer Micah Pueschel on the band’s website. As a mellow introduction to this journey, the first track “Coastin’” gently allures people with a classic island beat and faded steel drums. Simplicity oozes through their lyrics but makes people want more than what they’re listening to. This is also the case with “Contact High,” a more pop-reggae track with the all too popular background of fake clapping. While unnecessary, it does provide a smooth rhythm for the track.
“Guava Lane” has different roots, reverting back to a classic island beat and moderate tempo. With a feature from Eli Mac who provides a heavenly addition to the song, her reaching vocals make this a potential reggae hit. This song is truly raw reggae, hitting every note to make it a cult classic for years to follow.
The following tracks “Daylight Saving” and “Zen Island” have their own crescendos of reggae instruments. “Daylight Saving” begins as a ballad of island-pop and finishes with a smooth guitar outro that any rock legend would envy. “Zen Island” is its reggae-funk cousin that finishes with a sexy jazz saxophone outro worthy of swooning the audience, along with a signature guitar riff. The elemental funk-jazz binds the song together, adding a unique element unmatched to their previous work. “Chill Out” has this same sensation, with a more relaxed nature and muffled jazz trumpet.
“Right Here Right Now” emphasizes funk and takes listeners on a harmonious journey of reggae guitar licks and accompaniment by Rebelution’s lead singer Eric Rachmany and the band Stick Figure. Slap bass and rooted vocals guide fans through ecstasy and finish with an unparalleled and downright filthy guitar riff. “Home Tonight” slows down the tempo, taking people through the moonlight on a lustful journey for love. Its constant repetition takes people’s hand to something more, almost worthy of one’s next love-inspired playlist. “Fancy” is the next step in this story, and it’s all about romance. A simple tale about love, one long lost in the funky lyrics of these two songs.
“If You Only Knew” takes a different path in the album. It returns back to a reggae beat and simple lyrics, worthy of a nighttime drive. The song’s feature from Common Kings completes the island vibe this album needed, with a vocal capacity unmatched by many other reggae artists. To follow is “Smile,” a gentle rock track with hints of early 2000s guitar playing. It is the beginning to the end, and perhaps the last song with a reggae vibe in this album. “Move Forward” and “Learn From Me” are the songs that lay people to rest, perhaps on a beach, or on a lumpy mattress. Either way, it is a gentle ending to this melting pot of music.
Iration has coasted their way to a new level, showing fans they can infuse elements from any genre and not go unnoticed. Coastin’ stretches itself from their roots in Hawaii to the horizon (and further), proving the malleable nature of the reggae genre and Iration’s love for their own music.