Review Summary: Reggae-Rock at its finest!
In a world so filled with mediocrity and diluted with lackluster and meaningless lyrics, it’s hard find quality music that can keep your attention for more than 30 seconds. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure all of you are too. For lovers of not just good music but great music, it’s a daily effort to find something worth spending your time and your money on to keep you happy (at least momentarily). As exhausting and aggravating as it may be, there are bands taking the time and putting in quality effort to seamlessly mesh various genera’s of music to create whole albums that can be listened to and appreciated from beginning to end by anyone and everyone. This is a review of one of those albums…
The newest release “Sacred For Sale” by Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds has been a long time coming but was definitely worth the wait for fans of great reggae/rock music and this band in particular. Yes this genera has recently been flooded with mediocre stoner white boy bands with easily forgettable lyrics, lack of harmony, and horrible production. However, Moi and his boys would make Bradley Nowell proud to be a pioneer of this sub-genera and continue to make feel good, REAL, reggae music.
The album starts out strong with “Reflect,” a powerful reggae rock anthem about abusing prescription drugs and alcohol that will have your head banging from beginning to end. Moi keeps it ever so real and drives the songs overall meaning home with a powerful vocal performance and emotion. The album then turns a corner with “Ill Repute.” This is more of a conscious rock song with punk/reggae undertones about the frustrating state of affairs and government deception. Changing the pace once again is “Uplift” bringing a somber reggae vibe with plenty of vocal harmonies to keep your senses tingling and lyrics that make you start thinking about more than just your groove. Continuing with the same sort of vibe is “Sacred For Sale.” This song combines elements of hip-hop and reggae together through some impressive turntable work, dub-ish beats, and heartfelt lyrics that reflect just how special or “sacred” our lives really are. “Slow Down” soon follows, doing exactly the opposite of what the title suggests and cranks up the pace. This is the first single off the record and sounds like it should be one. It’s more of a radio friendly song that you would listen to on the way to the beach with a pop/punk sound that incorporates elements of ska and rock. “Only for You” comes next in the lineup and it truly shines to say the least. This is the only love song on the album and Moi’s vocals complement the pace and musical ambiance well. Slowing down the pace once again is “Further,” a Mo-Town-esc juggernaut of a song with incendiary guitar work, a chill vibe, and beautiful vocals laced with ever so haunting lyrics. “Tell Me Why” takes the number eight slot and fills it well. This song was inspired by no other than the Bad Brains and brings on a harder sound than more traditional reggae/rock songs and can be compared to the stylistic elements of “Warrior” from the bands first album. “It Had To Be You” is next and wastes no time getting your body moving. The music builds from beginning to end, incorporating a break down and a sick guitar solo that leaves emotionally and physically exhausted from all the energy it exudes and your brain flooded with musical endorphins of awesomeness. “Change” fills in the reggae dub lovers with the fire they need to light their chalice. This song takes you on a smooth journey of “higher” proportions with Latin guitar and reverberated Spanish vocals. The latter song almost seemingly makes way into the most vicious song on the album “Sacred For Resale.” This song takes its predecessor “Sacred For Sale” and gives it some punk rock style with some slightly different lyrics. In direct contrast to “Resale” comes “Creation,” a conscious reggae song with style similar to the great Mr. Marley mixed with an almost 80’s rock-off vibe at the end of the song. The album closes on an emotional note with “Memories.” This is defiantly the antithesis of everything you have heard on this album up to this point. Stripped down with just his voice and a piano, Moi sings about his past mistakes like he has nothing else to lose.
It was a long time coming in between albums (about 3 years) and TBS did not let me or their fan base down a bit. It was a great follow up to “Early Prayers” and this effort will forever remain in weekly rotation as it ranks with the likes of timeless classics such as Sublime’s “40oz to Freedom” and Bob Marley’s “Legend.” In all honesty, I really don’t have anything negative to say except for the length of the album which is just about 40 minutes. Other than that, this is a solid release that I hope gets the credit it deserves. All I can say now is to see these guys live. They never disappoint!