The Black Seeds unleash ample ‘Love & Fire’ in new LP

The Black Seeds unleash ample ‘Love & Fire’ in new LP
Photo cred: David James

Summertime, feeling fine. Love& Fire, The Black Seeds’ seventh full-length studio album, is a sunny and bright collection of 10 easy-listening, dubby tracks with ‘beach day’ written all over them. The New Zealand eight-piece dropped the record June 17th via Proville Records/Kartel Music Group in Europe and New York-based reggae label Easy Star Records in North America, following 2017’s album, FABRIC.

Loaded with relaxing beats and gentle vocals, ‘Love & Fire’ deserves all the sun-drenched attention it can get. 

Sonically, Love & Fire is a breezy breath of fresh air. Lyrically, the Kiwis manage to gracefully pair the embodiment of true easy-listening with deep and complex emotions and ideations that make you go, “…damn”. Internal conflict, like in “Let The Sunshine Through” and unrequited love, like in the album’s namesake track “Love & Fire”, hit right in the feels and display the band’s profound breadth of songwriting skills. Don’t be afraid to dance, though — these tracks all but beg for it. 

“Love & Fire” is a passionate song, encompassing the burning embers of lust “that are never going to cool right down”, as lead vocalist Barnaby Weir croons. The coy invitation from Weir “if you want to feel my love // then reach out and touch my fire” examines unspoken attraction through the male lens and throws the ball into the female court. The chorus, punctuated with dazzling horns, promises an earworm and the inevitable subsequent shower performance. 

The album’s track “Game Over” is a classic reggae sound that utilizes muted guitar riffs, a dubby bassline and an infectious horn section to showcase the band’s iconic and memorable sound. Tackling challenging themes of domestic life and parenting, vocalist Barnaby Weir says, “The lyrical content of this song describes some of the challenges and feelings of life as a musician and a parent in this world.” He continues, “It’s about the struggle to be the best you can be while maintaining relationships and careers — as well as feeling like you’re achieving something. It’s definitely a feeling we all have at times.”

If you happen to be a parent, truer words have never been spoken. 

A 70s pinball machine-inspired music video for “Game Over”, produced by Wellington-based video director Ed Davis, accompanies the single. Playing on the title, Davis recreated each of the eight band members inside the virtual gaming world. “A lot of work went into making meshes of their faces and selfies, customizing their avatars, instruments, clothes and sunglasses,” explains Ed. “I filmed myself miming all their moves — guitar, drums, sax, trumpet — so I could mocap [a type of animation] their avatars into life.”

The Black Seeds head out for a short run in New Zealand beginning August 5th, following up an extensive and almost nonstop collection of tours since 2015, spanning Europe, as well as North and South America. The Black Seeds have surpassed over 80 million Spotify streams and remain one of the most influential reggae bands out of the island nation. Listen to Love & Fire on all streaming platforms and tell us what you think!

Purchase or stream ‘Love & Fire’ album:

Track listing:

  1. Let the Sunshine Through
  2. Love & Fire
  3. Raised with Love
  4. Bring The Sun
  5. It’s So Real
  6. Non Justice
  7. Greatest Expectations
  8. Meditation
  9. Game Over
  10. Raised in Love Dub

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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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