California is the hotspot for the growing trend in reggae to add American elements to traditional island and Jamaican reggae, forming a novel hybrid genre that is among the top of the industry charts. That’s right, California Reggae: an alternative approach to reggae that, at this point, doesn’t need explaining since we’ve all heard it – from Slightly Stoopid to Rebelution to Iration to countless others in the scene. A new(ish) addition to this new(ish) genre is Pacific Grown, a rising Cali Reggae band on the scene living true to their name stationed seaside in Salinas, California. After their formation in 2014, this rock/reggae four-piece has cultivated quite a following fast and have recently teamed up with renowned Roots Musician Records to release their inaugural single “Wherever You Are”.
Think about summertime, and focus on preserving the good times.
The single features the usual Cali Reggae elements: a heavy walking bass line, massive vocal reverb, mind-bending sound effects, and an echoing lyrical overlay. Yet, Pacific Grown breaks apart from the rest with by balancing soft vocals against hard instrumentals. Lead singer Josh Dominguez delivers the lyrics in a soothing demeanor, while the bass booms and the lead guitarist wails on. And, what to say about the lead guitarist Matt Booher… The track’s guitar solo in the bridge is so expertly executed, one could question if they were listening to a new Expendables song versus a band’s first single. But, that’s the essence that Pacific Grown emits – making a known genre new again. Whether that’s an intentional vibe or not, that’s not the point. There really is no point. Don’t think too much on the West Coast is the point. It’s all about having fun in the sun, and the playful nature between the rhythm and lead guitars alongside the song’s catchy melodies really capture the laid back, sanguine persona of sunny California.
Although the band obviously loves where they live, “Wherever You Are” is a track dedicated to the notion of following your loved ones to the ends of the Earth and back, if necessary. Specifically, romantic love. With sprinkled sound effects throughout the track of alien-like spaceships, Pacific Grown even implies that a love for another could even be otherworldly. Everyone can relate to reminiscing about a relationship – either past or present – and explore the different options in their mind on how to bring back the good times. Pacific Grown tells their listeners that you’re not alone and to never give up on the people you care most about. Think about summertime, and focus on preserving the good times.
With this single in the books, Pacific Grown has officially taken their first step towards a full-length album. Whether that be in the near future and/or with Roots Musician Records is unclear at this point in time. There are a few shows on the calendar for Pacific Grown – mainly around their Salinas hometown in Northern California – and “Wherever You Are” is now available on all major digital outlets. For more information about Pacific Grown, visit www.pacificgrownmusic.com
Preview and download “Wherever You Are” on
- Wherever You Are
Pacific Grown “Wherever You Are” video
Release Date: March 11, 2016 • Label: Roots Musician Records
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.