Irie Beats - "Downtown Reaction" (Steady Beat Recordings)

This is the excellent debut from Los Angeles based Rockers Reggae band the Irie Beats, and it shows them in great form. The leaders of this band are no doubt, former Allentons guitarist Robert Sotelo and 2nd guitarist Noe Santana. This has some really great rhythms and even better solos. Even two songs sung by former Mobtown and Ocean 11 vocalist Malik Moore.

The record starts off with the slow, almost haunting intro of "Cantina" before exploding into a hypnotic roots rock reggae rhythm with Robert Sotelo playing a quick paced solo over the top. This one is my favorite on the record. The "Cantina" rhythm returns on the 5th track for "Cantina Dub", which brings the already haunting song to brand new levels with mixer Brian Dixon dubbing the hell out of the song so all that remains is the lead guitar and bass and a hint of drums before dropping the rest of the band in with echos.

Tracks two and three feature vocals by Malik Moore. The first with him is "Irie Blues" which has a kind of quick almost ska sounding rhythm. The vocals are great as per usual with Mr. Moore and the lead guitar plays a kind of bluesy, early rock style solo over the song, which i guess explains the title. The next song with him is "Carribean Lust" which is even better than "Irie Blues". "Carribean Lust" shows off the beauty of the guitars. Maliks voice sounds as soulful as ever (it's a shame he doesn't play with them anymore) but it's the spontaneous feel of the lead guitar that gives this song its charm. This is one of the better songs on the disc up there with "Cantina".

"Baby Sleeping" is another instrumental with nice dubby drums and organ. This song isn't a favorite but its still good. Its more in the rockers style reggae.

"Caspian Sound" is here with "Caspian Dub" which is kind of confusing to me as "Caspian Sound" is already a heavy dub track with plenty of top notch mixing by Mr. Dixon, and then "Caspian Dub" is a dub of an already dub song. Oh well though. They're both really good songs. "Caspian Sound" starts off with a bongo intro before moving into dub filled bass, drums and organ. "Caspian Dub" has the same feel of course. The drums are a bit more echoy, especially on the snare. But the dub version is complete with a false start and a rewind (one of my favorite dub techniques).

To make a long story short, pick this album up if you get the chance. Its some of the best the Southern California scene has to offer and I can't wait to see what they give us next.

  1. Cantina
  2. Irie Blues
  3. Carribean Lust
  4. Baby Sleeping
  5. Cantina Dub
  6. Caspian Sound
  7. Caspian Dub

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