( *** please scroll down for free listens and allow a few short seconds for complete tracks to download then rock steady! )
New Zealand and Reggae is not the most likely word pairing you would expect to read in a music review. However, this is one musical oxymoron – and musician pairing – that works big time for the Kiwi band Katchafire and their latest release “Legacy” is one easy skankin’ groove after another across all 12 excellent tracks.
Band bio-wise, Katchafire’s music has entrenched itself deep in the hearts of reggae fans from the South Pacific to North America, Europe and beyond. Their patented sweet and smooth reggae has earned them multiple awards, platinum sales, and 4 highly successful studio albums. Katchafire is very much a family affair, consisting of Grenville Bell (lead guitar), his sons Logan Bell (lead vocals/rhythm guitar) and Jordan Bell (vocals / drums), as well as Leon Davey (vocals / percussion), and Tere Ngarua (bass).
Track 01: Fyah In The Trenches / 4:50
Track 03: I Can Feel It A lot / 3:56
And though nearly 8000 miles of ocean separates the Tasman Sea island of New Zealand from the Caribbean island of Jamaica, Katchafire’s connection to the beloved Reggae genre ( beside knicking the band name from the title of Marley’s 1973 album “Catch A fire” ) is instant and powerful upon first listening. This, their fifth studio album, has the band spreads a healing, positive message of love to a world in crisis delivered in old-school roots style that drives the good vibes home but with light shadings of R&B and soul coloring the mix.
Track12: Way Beyond / 4:16
With nearly 20 years of incessant international touring tucked under their Tam’s with bands like Steel Pulse, UB40 and Spearhead stand-out tracks like “Fyah In The Trenches”, “ I can Feel A Lot” and “Way Out” are rife with with snaking, rythmic horns, loping bass grooves, ka-chunking guitar patterns and the sharp-crack drums beats informed by the styles of Marley and the Wailers, Toot’s and the Maytals, Peter ToshTosh and Jimmy Cliff, visages all chiseled onto the Mount Rushmore of Reggae.
And as I sit here with my Bose headphones wrapped around my head there’s a party going off between my ears as this amazing band from “The Land Of The Great White Cloud” rocks steady and I wonder if the majestic islands nick-name refers to a weather occurrence or the fact they must have some realy irie Kaya down under.
Somewhere Bob Marley is bobbing his natty dread head up and down dancing to “Legacy” stoked on the riddim’s he has inspired his spawn like Katchafire to bring forth to the world. – Mez –
( Legacy now available at most digital download site, for U.S. tour info with 5 Florida and 5 California dates booked so far go to www.katchafire.co.nz. ).