I don’t sit down and listen to a whole reggae album. I just don’t. It’s not that I don’t have an appreciation for the genre, but every reggae album I’ve listened to didn’t have enough variety to keep me interested for a full forty-five minutes. I was happy to be proven wrong by Lionize’s recent Pentimento Music Company debut, “Superczar And The Vulture.”
There’s still more than enough reggae/dub sound in this record to be considered a part of that genre, but there’s also enough funk, alt rock, and soul influences to bring a whole new level to the depth throughout.
But good songwriting can’t fuel a good album alone. It also takes instrumental skill and talented musicianship, both of which Lionize most certainly possess. Keys player Chris Brooks brings a slew of awesome solos throughout the album (my favorite being in the second half of “Vessel”), and I’m not quite sure which member does the backup vocals, but those harmonies, combined with a strong lead voice (Nate Bergman), bring constant strength to these songs.
An added bonus is the (half) title track “Superczar,” in which the band borrows Streetlight Manifesto horn players Jim Conti (alto sax) and Nadav Nirenberg (trombone) for an amazing funk duel breakdown, following yet another groovy keys solo.
My top tracks for this album are “Dr. Livingston,” “Superczar,” “Vessel,” and the badass anthem “Walking Away (From Explosions Unscathed).” This album made it to my top ten list of 2011, and I continue to recommend it to fans of reggae, funk, alt rock, punk, ska, soul, and any mix of those.