The Hip Abduction | The Hip Abduction
album review by John Powell
Florida’s The Hip Abduction is a refreshing meditation. Their self-titled second set is inspired, calming, loose world-beat and pop-infused reggae. Set up in classic reggae group fashion (drum n’ bass, guitars, percussion, and a horn section), they add in kora and n’goni.
As a band, they’re reminiscent of early John Brown’s Body, in the sense that all their music is cooling, soothing, upbeat, and positive. The lyrics are quick to learn and a balance of introspection and retrospection. This album in particular rides through many splendid melodies and horn licks.
On “Children of The Sun”, singer David New near-hums, “We come alive when we feel the heat,” as the band ebbs and flows, and between the instrumentation and the lyrics, (“Ride that wave back to me”), The Hip Abduction takes you to a tropical summer night. It’s fascinating to hear a band work such transporting magic. Within minutes you’re no longer where you were. You’re present with them in their moment.
Some of the songs turn to nasty roots. “All Eyes” rumbles with hot fire. When David sings, “Put out the fire/ the embers caught fire again,” you can’t help but tune in. Added “Ooh oohs” brings forth a Kevin Kinsella comparison.
With “Breathless” they turn to strict Afrobeat. The organ, bass, and horns all align wonderfully. The album passes through these genre paths with grace. “Walk Away” is a slinky mix of sounds. Reggae with n’goni is a great use of the instrument, especially with how pop savvy these guys are.
While, in reality, each song on this album is worthy, three are exceptional. “Holiday”, on first listen, nearly brought tears to my eyes. The use of sparse instrumentation and the slow build of sonics, along with powerful lyrics, are inescapably glorious; exemplifying what makes THA sound unique.
The one instrumental, “La Resaca”, is built for dancing. Any hippie in a skirt and barefeet will have to lose control on this jam that sounds like Toubab Krewe teaming up with 10 Ft. Ganja Plant. The dueling strings, the punctuated bass- it’s dreamy.
Finally comes “Live it Right”, a song that answers the call for a sunny side up reggae song. “I feel all right today,” David sings; “Nothing gonna bring me down today…Live it right/ Good vibrations are coming through the night.” This could sound contrived, but the truth about The Hip Abduction is that they are this music. It clearly comes from that holy place.
Some bands pick a genre and try for it. THA is their sound. They are reggae music. They are Afrobeat. They are the good vibes they’re trying to emote. As reggae continues to gain footing in America, and more and more bands try their hand at such a unique and powerful sound, THA are one of the better ones, and a group to watch. I love this record.
Bottom line: Florida-vibes reggae music with West African instrumentation added.