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Alific | Echoes From the Soul

album review by John Powell

Alific | Echoes From the Soul</p> <p><em>Echoes From the Soul</em><em style=

Echoes From the Soul is superior reggae music. Music producer Alific has always had an affinity for reggae, but with these 14 tracks he takes on his own set of amazing compositions. The entire vibe of the album is set to “have fun”, although lyrically he and the guest vocalist tap politics, religion, and social segregations. The songwriting style and lyrical content remind me of Slightly Stoopid, in the sense that the instrumentation sums up to the best roots reggae out there, while the songs themselves are both conscious and unoriginal.

 

Besides that little snafu, Alific couldn’t have done it better. The title track sounds like 10 Ft. Ganja Plant. Alific plays much of the instrumentation himself, pulling in others for backing vocals, flute and other horns, and guest vocals. The flute on this opener is wonderful and the horns have just the right amount of dub affects.

“Up To Me” is a rugged backburner vibe, with hushed, rapid vocals that sounds more DJ than the opener. “When I find me a spot that we love the most/ traveled from city to city and coast to coast,” Alific sings over the slick groove. “If you find yourself all alone/ don’t live your life with your glass half full,” he adds in the bridge.

On “Lucid Eyes” Alific breaks the pattern, landing on a house groove in reggae rhythm. The swirling strings and glassy piano melody are delicious, just like the indie-tinged finale, “Midnight of the Loon”, which is too good to go unnoticed.

The other key track is “The Cost”, sounding like a Burning Spear track of sputtering horns and uplifted bass, except for the vocals, which are soulful and relaxed. “Unrestricted in an excessive land,” guest vocalist Adrian Smith sings. “It’s every man for himself.” The chorus is catchy as hell and the lead guitar is just amazing.

Each song sounds different from its neighbor, as Alific teases in hip-hop (“Under Arrest”), ska pop (“My Destiny”), and other swell fitting genres. Because Alific enters this album as a producer, it sounds amazing. He built the songs from the sound outward, as opposed to trying to capture a live song on record.

This is the first full-length album off of Rootfire Records, a company dedicated to social improvement and roots music, so if you’re familiar with Rootfire at all then you know Alific has a high bar set for quality and content.

Any fan of modern roots reggae will be missing something important if they pass up a chance to get into Echoes From the Soul.

Bottom line: Reggae producer makes an original set of some of the year’s best reggae, and reggae so far.

 


 

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