Clear Conscience’s ‘Captain’ hoists the dub flag

Clear Conscience, a band out of the San Francisco Bay, is well known for their laid-back vibing style and their recent release “Captain” is no exception to the dub rule. The six-song EP is of the trippy and tranquil variety, leaving no reggae stone unturned.

The album starts out heavy on the reverb in a track entitled “She’s One”, featuring Tribal Seed’s Ryan Gonzo. The lyrics spiral around being “stuck” in love with someone that’s “one in a million”, which compels the listener to get comfortable: this album – like a good romance – has only just begun.

Following the premier track is a highly psychedelic song called “Lillah”, where Clear Conscience is joined with the talents of E.N. Young. Accompanied by Young’s flex-tube melodica, the keys and sound effects entrance the listener into an almost sedative-like state with walking melodies similar to a Middle Eastern snake charmer. It is unclear if this song is about having a child or caring for a pot plant; either way, the song spells out witnessing an entity grow over time and having new priorities “rain down” as a result.

The six-song EP is of the trippy and tranquil variety, leaving no reggae stone unturned.

Song number three is the album self-titled track “Captain”, featuring members of 77 Jefferson and E.N. Young. The keys on this track are frivolous, creating an atmosphere almost as if cruising the Caribbean. Being out on the open seas is a fitting pretense, since Clear Conscience stakes claim as “your Captain, your shipmate” within the chorus. The song describes the utopic splendor of falling in love as a voyage having endless possibilities of duration, direction and destination. Interestingly, the song includes sound effects resembling what could possibly be alien spaceships taking flight, which forces the listener to infer that love is almost like an abduction – a journey, in any sense.

The subject matter of “Another” is the second of two extremes exuded on the EP; the listener can blatantly tell it’s this track versus the rest of the album. On the one hand, the chord progression and light drumming portrays a positive backdrop, slightly reminiscent of Bob Marley’s “One Love” melody. The lyrics, however, are far from loving. To put it crudely, it’s a dumping song – move along, you’re no longer welcome here. Thus, the irony of being analogous to Marley is inherent. On the other hand, it is a pleasant track, for it describes awakening from the cold of a dead-end relationship and shedding the winter coat of a “stubborn girl with frigid hands” now that “spring is here”. With this song posited in the middle of the EP, it’s almost as if the band is making a statement that the album is about to change its course, which it does.

The last two tracks are dub renditions of previous songs entitled “Lilah Dub” and “She’s Dub in a Million” which echo the same – although now fragmented – lyrics while turning up the reverb on the guitar and basslines. The sound mixing is well above par and the listener has no choice but to vibe out until the album ends.

“Captain” is currently #12 on the Billboard Top Reggae Charts and can be purchased online only, due to the 500 limited edition hard copies already sold out. In all, it is unmistakably evident that Clear Conscience has set sail on a steady ship to success.

Preview and download Captain from:

Track listing

  1. She’s One
  2. Lilah
  3. Captain
  4. Another
  5. She’s Dub In A Million
  6. Lilah Dub

Clear Conscience “Lilah” clip

Released Jul 29, 2014 • Roots Musician Records

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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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