Rebelution finds a happy medium
Friday, February 24, 2012
If you go
What: Rebelution, in concert.
When: 9 p.m. Feb. 24.
Where: Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave., Portland.
Cost: $20 through TicketsWest, 800-992-8499 or ticketswest.com.
Rebelution’s first album had a rough sound, with tracks that mirrored the live listening experience. The band’s second release was heavily produced, with full and layered tracks.
Now the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based reggae group is touring behind album No. 3, “Peace of Mind,” and this time Rebelution aimed for a halfway point between its first two CDs. The tracks have a live-music feel, but with overdubs and other studio production techniques aimed at enriching the sound.
Finding that middle ground was no easy feat for the five-member band.
“We’re really particular about our sound,” said singer/guitarist Eric Rachmany. “That one rhythm hit on guitar or piano may be argued about for a full day before we actually figure out whether it’s going to be in or whether it’s going to be out.”
In addition to thinking differently about sound production, Rebelution experimented with musical styles when it headed to the studio.
“We definitely tried to mix it up a lot,” Rachmany said. “A lot of this new album has a softer sound.”
“Closer I Get,” “Good Vibes” and “Life on the Line” are among those more subdued and contemplative songs. But fans who prefer rock edge will appreciate the edge of “Comfort Zone” and “Day by Day,” and the CD also includes buoyant pop melodies — “Meant to Be,” “Calling Me Out” and “Sky Is the Limit.”
After self-producing most of the tracks on its first two albums, Rebelution brought in multiple producers to help with “Peace of Mind.” Michael Wasser, Keith Armstrong, Errol Brown and Yeti Beats — producers who’ve worked with Bob and Ziggy Marley, Kool Keith and George Clinton — are among those who shaped the CD.
“We really enjoyed working with all of these guys in the past, and kind of felt like they had specialties,” Rachmany said. So Rebelution asked Armstrong to help with edgier songs, Beats with more progressive tunes, and so on.
While recording and producing “Peace of Mind,” Rebelution also created two through-the-looking-glass takes on it, filling one CD with acoustic versions of all its songs, and another with dub versions. Dedicated fans can buy the three-disk package.
Now that the studio time is over, the intense conversations that shaped “Peace of Mind” have followed Rebelution onto its current road tour.
“We’ve been debating which songs to play every night,” Rachmany said.
Much of the discussion centers on how to incorporate new songs with tunes from earlier albums, and how best to represent the full range of Rebelution’s sound.
Don’t let heated conversations fool you, though. Rebelution is enjoying its musical ride.
“I really love the way things are going because we get to record music and people get to hear us in their CD player,” Rachmany said. “And then when they want to see us live, we get to tour the country and actually see the people that have (gotten) our music every day. So it makes it all worthwhile.”