Through The Roots’ newest album Departure follows last year’s release of Arrival and is packed with so many featured artists. “With ‘Arrival’, that album was us kind of finding our sound,” said lead singer Evan Hawkins. “And, with ‘Departure’, we wanted to show how we could flex and what other genres we are interested in and how versatile we can be.”
The band looked for artists to collaborate with on this project who could strengthen those genre reaches and bring their distinct sound to each track. For reggae fans, there are familiar voices on the album, such as Duddy B (of Dirty Heads), Lutan Fyah and so many more. Hawkins and I had a Zoom call to discuss the release: “This whole album came together just like this — over Zoom in this same room,” Hawkins told me. In the time of the Coronavirus, all the canceled shows gave the band time to play more, dream up new concepts and work with a strong team to really dial in the sound. “J.L.L. and I spent so many hours late-night working on this until we both couldn’t keep our eyes open — him in Jamaica and me here at home.” Arguably, Departure wouldn’t have been possible without a shutdown — certainly not on this tight timeline! Hawkins continued, “All these features [on the album] weren’t touring. I think if they were touring, there would’ve been no way to tie them down to get them to record.” The album was mixed by Niko Marzouca (Jamaica) and Robert Marks (Florida) of Niko’s House, who also mixed Arrival. It is being released through Ineffable Records.
‘Departure’ is our reward for having forfeited live shows all year. It’s the medicine for our cabin fever.
And, it doesn’t sound anything like lockdown. It’s full of sounds that, with closed eyes, will convince you that the beach vacation you had planned for 2020 really did happen. “Cool Down”, featuring Pepper & Katastro, is a delicious bash — a perfect example of the blend TTR was striving for with this album. Watch the new music video today, which is fun and sort of a satire of itself! “At Peace” is the first track and a dreamy meditation, with verses from Lutan Fyah that are a little staccato; a contrast that works in perfect balance.
To be honest, the whole album is addictive. Although the mood and style of each track is different, there is a clear motif throughout. These boys are romantics. They don’t shy away from affectionate lyrics. Hawkins doesn’t miss any opportunity to sing sweet, which is why every Through The Roots live show has a front row full of adoring fans who look completely lovesick.
For those folks and all other fans, this is their heartfelt love letter until you can see each other again in a dark concert hall. There is also a good chance that “Too Damn Far” was written with a particular person in mind, but no one will blame you if you claim it as your anthem for missing Evan, Corrick, Brady and Ekona. They undoubtedly miss you, too.
Purchase or stream ‘Departure’ album:
- At Peace, feat. Lutan Fyah
- Rollin’, feat. Eli Mac
- My Girl, feat. Jesse Royal
- Action, feat. Yung L
- Too Damn Far
- Words As Weapons, feat. Runkus & lotosh
- In My Head, fat. Duddy B
- Paper Planes, feat.. Likkle Jordee
- Cool Down, feat. Pepper & Katastro
- Paper Planes dub – nikoshouse Dub
Through The Roots – “Cool Down”, feat. Pepper & Katastro official music video:
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.