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Fear Nuttin Band | Move Positive

album review by John Powell

Fear Nuttin Band | Move Positive

Feel free to describe Western Massachusetts’ Fear Nuttin Band as a cross breeding of reggae and metal. It’s not inaccurate, but I warn the reggae-leaning listener to be cautious of how much they rock on Move Positive, the band’s second album, released on their own label, BoomBlaze. Granted, there is more drum n’ bass, as well as old school reggae grooves here than on their debut, Yardcore. Here’s the set-up:

Chris Regan and Jay Chung share guitar shredding duties, playfully layering heavily strummed whole notes, skanking back riddims, and some guitar riffs you want to hear over and over again. Mike Fuchs, the band’s newest addition, pounds the drums with great control, traversing the band’s chaotic nature with ease. On “One More Day” he goes from the verses, a one drop behind softly sung lyrics to the ferocious prog rock of “Everything Gonna Be Alright Alright”. Brian Daigle performs likewise on bass. There are guest players, including guys from SOJA and The Alchemystics. The album burns through the speakers like a bonfire.

Then there’s Prowla and Roosta. While the rest of the band looks like metalhead punks, all pierced and tattooed, these two vocalists came straight from Jamaica, (Jay likewise had roots there). They really bring the flavor. Anytime the band gets really heavy, their heavy Jamaican singjay/rap/singing combinations make a highly original sound.

“Angry people/fighting everywhere,” Roosta sings on the title track opener. “Don’t serve no purpose.” The song is one of the more reggae’d out tunes. “We no deal with people that move negative,” Roosta and Prowla sing. “Jah ‘pon me side.” While the instrumentation is thoroughly raw, the lyrics tend towards positive messages.

In the same vein, “Rebel” is an anthem for the underrepresented. It storms in like an army. Then, as if out of nowhere, it falls into a beautiful skank. This song came with some orchestration collaborations with Jacob Hemphill of SOJA, so it has a similar emotion to the Virginian roots troupe. “Watch it on your TV/people only followin’ what they see,” Prowla sings. “I’m not the latest trend.” The bridge is, “Gain the world and lose your soul.” It’s beautiful lyrics.

A gem is “Pocket Dial”, featuring Rebbeca "Becks" Schaefer. It’s almost a radio ready pop-esque bit of fun. Roosta, who deserves more time on the mic, although Prowla is by no means a slouch, starts things off. “Me get a call from a young lady/she tell me she and the girls at the party/my phone is ringing loud/I’m like, ‘Hello hello hello!’” Prowla gets a verse and then Becks steals the mic away from these powerhouses. The song, funny and witty, speaks for itself. “You don’t know I heard everything you said/I know you’re lying in her bed.” Ouch.

Between their first album and this one, Fear Nuttin Band gained appreciation for how certain elements of pop can work to their benefit. It makes things upbeat and danceable, catchy. You don’t have to like heavy metal or reggae to enjoy this album. Songs like “People Living Together” sound like they could have been written by an optimistic Linkin Park and “Informer” is an acoustic track worthy to go side by side with some of Slightly Stoopid’s more folky contributions.

But the best track is “Oh My”, beginning with a metal version of Nyabingi beats and then building to the catchiest chorus in a long time: “When you see the children hurtin’/don’t it make you wanna cry/When you see Jamaica burnin’/Oh my.” Chris lays down some of his most infectious guitar riffs while during the chorus the bass really keeps things humming. It’s loud, rebellious, thoughtful, and the sort of call to arms that can actually light a fire under you big enough to cause action. Or at least it stimulate reaction.

More than that, Move Positive offers a variety of music, tied together by a sense of thick, heavy, and loud. It’s a powerful album. I’d love to see more reggae involved. “Standing By the Wall” is a great example of how good they are at the rootsier stuff. There can be a better balance between what they do, but overall, look no further for heart, soul, and fire.

Bottom line: Unique twists of convention, enough guitar riffs to make you explode, and music you can get in trouble over.


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