Of all the places on earth you might think to find a reggae band singing of social and spiritual revolution, little old Adelaide is probably near the bottom of the list. Luckily for us though, Local Revolution's debut album Gentle Warrior is an album that does just that, but angles the music in a way that would cause anyone with a pulse to tap their foot along to.
The bands visual aesthetic is one which reflects its musical aesthetic - revolutionary and political. From the album cover, a clenched fist among tribal artwork, to photos of the band donning indigenous flags and rastacaps (which always make me think of this), it's no surprise that they have things to make music about.
The hyper political message of Gentle Warrior might not be everyones cup of tea. Lyrically, the album is a huge amalgamation of Rastafarian ideals, with references to Zion (the promised land), Babylon (the idea of materialism and opression, or 'downpression' if you want to get really Rastafarian), as well as to racial and social issues, such as apartheid and Nelson Mandela. Lines such as "People must rise, and Babylon fall down" and "Uranium is sacred/it should never have been found" in the track 'Up And Down' sees the band choose their side of the politics, and hammer the stance home for the 55 minute run time of the album. It gets a little tiring once you get to the end, especially when some of the choruses are repeated ad infinitum. The lyrics are clever at best, and im14andthisisdeep at their worst.
The huge amount of instruments manages to keep the album always bouncing along, despite the occasional shortcomings of the lyricism. In typical reggae style, the bass lines are subtle but powerful, alongside the similarly on point drumming (the fills on 'Wasi Wayo' especially), the rhythm section of Local Revolution really make the album what it is. Horns feature on every track on Gentle Warrior, really blowing me away at times too, like at the end of 'Wasi Wayo', and all throughout 'Funk Up The World'. Funky guitars play a prominent role as well, and even gets a few solos here and there, but they're pretty lackluster compared to the horn parts.
The studio album is indeed above average, but it feels like Local Revolution would be at their prime in a live setting. The official launch of Gentle Warrior was commemorated with a show at SA's best live music venue The Gov on Saturday, August 1. While it's easy to sit here and critique aspects of the album, and I have no doubt that if I was in the crowd around hundreds of other people, the sheer energy that the band emits would take over.
It is impossible to not be sucked in to the positivity, good vibes, and groovy rhythms that emanate from every track on the album. One love, bredren.
Listen to Local Revolution's track 'Funk Up The World' now, or download the track at the band's Bandcamp: