House of Shem: Island Vibration (Isaac)

 |   |  1 min read

House of Shem: Move Along Together
House of Shem: Island Vibration (Isaac)

If it's true, as I am told, this album went to number one on the New Zealand charts it confirms two things: in this part of the Pacific we love them familiar summertime reggae grooves; and also that we have an indiscriminate love of them familar summertime reggae grooves to the point of ignoring the obvious.

The obvious here is that House of Shem deliver little more -- I'd actually say absolutely no more, and possibly less -- than reggae cliches on a musical and lyrical level ("gotta move along together, hold on tight to each other . . . unite").

This dreary, obvious and emotional black hole of an album is no more than cruisy barbecue music, albeit very well played.

So yes, you can take nothing away from the musicianship on display here, but toss over the top lyrics which sound like a Powerpoint presentation of reggae/Rasta imagery coupled with lovers rock (Babylon/brighter day/unity/Jah love/all I need is you) and you have an album which sounds as if it was conceived as being coated in emotional Teflon.

The vaguely interesting parts arrive when this forgettable hour-or-so sometimes connects with the Pasifika/Maori suggestions of its title (although even Ruia's contribution sounds a wasted opportunity on Tahuri Mai Ra over the generic grooves which are endemic here).

As with the last Katchafire album -- also up a blind alley but enormously popular -- the reggae tropes are here in pleasingly populist abundance . . . but actually there's very little going on.

Except perhaps if you are having a barbecue and you'd like to talk to your guests.

Believe me, this won't distract your attention.

Number one, huh?

Jeez ............

Want to hear better than this? Then try here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Reggae articles index

BOB MARLEY REMEMBERED IN NEW ZEALAND (2009): The symmetry of commemorations

BOB MARLEY REMEMBERED IN NEW ZEALAND (2009): The symmetry of commemorations

Summertime in the late Nineties and I am walking in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Around the corner come two Maori guys who greet me with eyebrow flashes and a hefty, "Kia ora."... > Read more

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

When Herbs emerged at the start of the 1980s they were a very different band from the avuncular, mainstream entertainers they became. The original five-piece was managed by the former president... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Stadium shakers

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Stadium shakers

This will be brief because not everyone in Elsewhere's world likes the sound of a roaring jet engine in their ears but . . . There is certainly a place for stadium-sized metal-edged rock which... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JARED HILL on the tainted legacy of Bob Marley

GUEST WRITER JARED HILL on the tainted legacy of Bob Marley

Of all the many historical figures in the 20th century regarded as forbearers of cultural revolution, Bob Marley is probably the most overlooked. While his unique brand of counterculture music... > Read more