Eight-piece funky reggae outfit Backbeat Soundsystem are proud to announce the hotly anticipated release of their album ‘Together Not Apart’ through prestigious reggae label Easy Star Records.
An album whose title is a fitting tribute to their fans, who pulled together to provide funds and triple the initial target for the project on Kickstarter, it’s currently available for pre-order from iTunes. ‘Fighting Bull’, ‘Losing Faith’ and ‘Come Undone’ are offered as Instant Gratification Downloads when pre-ordering the full album, while the latter, which currently has over 30,000 plays on SoundCloud, is also available as a free download.
Based in Cornwall, Backbeat’s mélange of sweet vocal melodies and hard-hitting toasting coupled with their penchant for organic, fresh reggae and 2-tone are distinctively presented in this debut studio LP.
A testament to the collective’s dedication to their music, vocalist Dean Forrest recorded, produced and mixed the album at top Cornish studio Cube Recordings, bringing a fresh and acoustic feel through the presence of classic microphone techniques and analogue outboard equipment. Meanwhile, album track ‘Burning Up’, which showcases multi-layered vocal harmonies and dynamic toasting courtesy of fellow vocalist/MC Darren Kendall, proves especially impressive, having recorded many extra parts with Bob Williams at Analogue Systems using their modular synthesizers, sought after by bands such as Radiohead and Kaiser Chiefs.
The twelve songs provide the perfect platform for the band to explore their musical potential and their lyrics often offer a unifying message of change, challenge and hope. Triumphant album opener ‘Fighting Bull’ advocates the adventure of pursuing a dream, while ‘Hey Girl’ is a cheeky, playful serenade that started as a homage to 70s/80s funk tracks.
The heavy, pumping dub beats, intricate horns and ambient synths of ‘Against It All’ set the background for the politically charged lyrics, which Dean describes as “defiant in its attitude: tackling issues of media control and fear-mongering amongst other social concerns”. ‘I Spy’ follows suit, describing and questioning violence taking place on the streets, while Peter Joseph’s 2008 ‘artivist’ documentary ‘Zeitgeist Addendum’ is sampled for ‘Words are the Weapon’. Meanwhile, ‘Come Undone’ emphasises the shared responsibility in society, showcasing the group’s penchant for crafting culturally informed lyrics.
‘Losing Faith’ is a very personal track for Dean: “It’s a juxtaposition of upbeat drums, melancholy chords and lyrics. You think you know what you should do with a relationship, but instead of following that instinct you bury it.” Amends and apologies are made in smooth groove ‘Forever Never’, while big vocal harmonies characterize love song ‘Share With You’.
The fast roots reggae vibes of ‘Two Time’ make it a favourite to perform live, with Dean and Darren personifying the struggle with temptation. The final track on the release, aptly titled ‘December’, is also special for Dean :“I remember very vividly listening back to the horns just after Tom Neal and Lawrence Willoughby had tracked them – it gave me goosebumps all over.”
01. FIGHTING BULL
02. HEY GIRL
03. AGAINST IT ALL
04. I SPY
05. WORDS ARE THE WEAPON
06. COME UNDONE
07. LOSING FAITH
08. FOREVER NEVER
09. SHARE WITH YOU
10. TWO TIME
11. BURNING UP
iTunes pre-order url: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/together-not-apart/id914971091
Fresh from their 14-date UK tour alongside Easy Star All-Stars, the band will celebrate the launch of the album at The Watering Hole, Cornwall, on 11th October. A show that promises to deliver lively riddims and stomping bass, Backbeat Soundsystem look set to be catapulted to the forefront of UK contemporary reggae with this fresh full-length debut.