Review by Megan T.
With the lineup for May’s California Roots Festival announced, Sonic Ambulance had to fill our ears with some well tempo’d reggae music. Lucky for us, the big guys from Iration, on their Hawaiian Punch tour with New Kingston, burnt through the Catalyst. Trying to see through the clouds and humidity, we bounced to some of my favorite tracks like ‘Electricity’ and an ‘Is This Love’ cover that shone slivers of disco ball reflections on our glazed faces. They even brought out the Expendable’s Weers to tear us down with ‘Bowl for Two’. They’ll actually start touring together to promote “Hotting Up” the new Iration album, which I recommend you hear. The first track, “Reelin”, is one they declare encapsulates their new sound promoting bass, drums, synth and a smoothness that brings up-tempo and rock to the roots of reggae.
Heads up for New Kingston, because these New York guys are lighting up the reggae festival scene, making huge strides in production and proliferation. They’ll be at Winter Rock Reggae Festival in Salt Lake City, the South Carolina Roots Festival in April, and spots all along the beautiful west coast. They’ve got tracks of respect and sincerity, like ‘Can’t Stop A Man’ from their “Kingston City” release. And then there are the social sounds of ‘Mystery Babylon’ featuring E.N. Young and T-Ray of Tribal Seeds. Check them out, they’re aiming high and have the backbone to achieve.
Some say reggae is predictable. Some say it’s routine. I say it’s like a play where musicians carry you through an experience in each song. It is being elevated into love without the risk. It’s bliss without the danger. And in the Catalyst, this reggae was an evening of peaceful harmony, as ‘Summer Nights’ played despite the February fog outside. Come find us this May at Monterey’s California Roots Festival and share in the spirit.