Arise Roots paves the way for reggae in ‘Pathways’ album

Arise Roots paves the way for reggae in ‘Pathways’ album

“Here I Am” is the song that could have easily been the title of Arise Roots’ new record. Southern California’s acclaimed reggae-rock ensemble is back with their third full-length studio album, Pathways, via Ineffable Records. The bountiful 15-track release features support from a multitude of impactful artists, such as Eric Rachmany (of Rebelution), Kyle McDonald (of Slightly Stoopid), Lutan Fyah, Nattali Rize and Turbulence.

Recorded at 17th Street Recording Studio in Costa Mesa by Lewis Richards, Gary Larason and Rick Haze, the album also includes Winston Peters and Jamey “Zeb” Dekofsky on drums, Micah Smoley on percussion, Eitan Avineri on trumpet, Wes Perry on saxophone, Joshua Molé on trombone and Blake Colie on samples.

On Pathways, band members Karim Israel, Todd Johnson, Chris Brennan, Robert Sotelo, Rodolfo Covarrubias and Blake Colie have returned with a new, unique vibe that stays true to their classic roots-of-the-1970s style of reggae. This album is a chill, effortless and inspiring collection of soulful jams, but there is also something more-than-meets-the-eye happening.

Arise Roots pushes their talent to new limits with remarkable performances and a wide range of stylistic capabilities.

“One Life to Live” surprisingly switches off between smooth and edgy, as it delivers heartwarming and uplifting messages about spreading positivity. It’s one of many tracks, like “Come and Get It” and “Here I Am”, that bring joy to whatever moment you are experiencing. The rhythmic flows of this record make it a perfect soundtrack for your weekend adventures to the beach or could just as easily serve to keep you calm and carefree during your work grind.

“Fade Away” is a touching ballad with energy that cuts deep and true. The bassline grooves at the center of enchanting guitar riffs and tender horns, while Israel’s impassioned vocals serenade us to a state of self-reflection. The track depicts a vision for our world through a lens of peace and love.

One of the most underrated songs on the album is “If You Let Me.” Its simplicity of structure allows the pure and dreamy melodies to shine. What you’ll find as you listen is truly a sonic representation of open arms. I recommend you sit back and take Arise Roots up on their offer — “just take my hand, let’s go”. 

What makes so many of these songs so good is their subtle complexity.

If you listen closely, you can’t help but appreciate the steady and stimulating backing organs, the lively keys keeping verses and transitions fresh each time around and the variety in guitar licks, charging the overall sound with a sense of balance.

If Arise Roots is doing any one thing comprehensively on this album, it’s letting you know exactly who they are. This is an experienced band hitting their stride, putting themselves on a silver platter and presenting it to their fans. This is a self-portrait, the type of album one could expect a band to self-title. The fact that they didn’t only proves to show there is still more to come from these talented artists.

Purchase or stream ‘Pathways’ album:

Track listing:

  1. Colors
  2. Come and Get It, feat. Slightly Stoopid & Eric Rachmany
  3. Follow the Leader
  4. Here I Am
  5. Lions in the Jungle, feat. Lutan Fyah, Turbulence & Nattali Rize
  6. If You Let Me
  7. Selecta
  8. For Who You Are
  9. Babylon Bwoy
  10. Stepping Like a General
  11. Nice and Slow
  12. You Can Have It All
  13. Fade Away
  14. Come and Get It (Extended Version), feat. Slightly Stoopid & Eric Rachmany

Arise Roots “Here I Am” official music video:

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.

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David Lozano
2 months ago

This is an experienced band hitting their stride, putting themselves on a silver platter and presenting it to their fans.” What a perfect description Andrew! The whole album is a masterpiece. Great article.