I checked my email late one night and I noticed an unopened message from my editor with the subject line reading: Passafire’s new EP. The ensuing message contained the four track EP, titled Interval, in addition to an offer to write the review for the recently released music from the Georgia-based band. As curious as I was, I held off on immediately pressing play. Instead I decided that the next morning’s fifteen minute drive to work would be the optimal time to critique the project as well as add a little bit of intrigue to what would normally be another mundane activity.
Interval opens with what I believe is the EP’s best song in “Wheels Of Steel.” The nearly four-minute track provides the listener with a customary sound we have come to expect from Passafire. Like some of my past favorites, such as “Submersible” and “Divide,” the new EP’s opening track contains several rambunctious rock and roll buildups followed by parts of more rhythmic, reggae-heavy sounds. Just within this lone track, the four-man band displays the type of range they have become known for.
The nearly four-minute track provides the listener with a customary sound we have come to expect from Passafire.
And the group’s willingness to explore a wide range of genres is followed up with Interval‘s second song, “Finding Me.” With the catchy chorus and relentless tempo, this track sounds like something I might stumble upon while surfing my local alternative radio stations. While I attempt to swerve through a stagnate morning traffic jam, the voice of vocalist Ted Bowne is a pleasant change from the morning routine. Still with a good chunk of the trip left, I focused my attention on the EP’s remaining two songs.
The second half of Interval didn’t seem to capture my attention as effectively as the preceding tracks. “Out Of Sight” is a trippy song with a fuzzy edge but I cant say that it is one of Passafire’s premier songs. The EP ends with a melancholy, yet lyrically interesting track “Bobber.” Bowne sings, “Fucked me over just for practice, I am looking for the actions, I’m paint and you’re the canvas.” I will be the first to admit these last songs aren’t necessarily my cup of tea but I sure can appreciate the direction the band is going in.
One of the common criticisms I hear from friends about reggae is that it’s repetition borders on the monotonous. Even I come across songs that I swear I have heard before, merely disguised by a different musician employing his/her own slightly different lyrics. Passafire has proven to be exempt from this type of criticism. Formed in 2003, the band has carved out their own reggae/rock niche within the genre. A Passafire song is recognizable usually within the first ten seconds of listening and although I don’t consider Interval their best work, the EP captures your attention and is a more than worthwhile listen.
Retiring to my car after a full eight hour day of work there was no doubt what I was cueing up on the car stereo. Already well-versed in the subtleties of the four songs, I just wanted to listen to something original.
Preview and download Interval from
Interval track listing
- Wheels of Steel
- Finding Me
- Out of Sight
Passafire – Wheels Of Steel (Studio Performance Video)
Released March 23, 2015 • Easy Star Records
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.