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Saturday, October 29, 2011

REVIEW: Outlaw Nation "Back In Babylon" - New Release 2011

Outlaw Nation’s “Gutter Reggae Soul” undoubtedly reflects the cultural significances in New Orleans-style music. The unique jumble of reggae, ska, and alternative rock has been the prescription for success as the members of Outlaw Nation have been writing and performing music for 12 years. In that time Outlaw Nation has toured the nation on plenty of occasions and have even been recognized for their hit single “Pass The Doobie” which was released in 2003.
In October 2011, Outlaw Nation signed with Stoopid Records label, the new "Reggae" album: "Back In Babylon". In December, the group will hit the road for a seventeen-day tour of locations primarily on the West Coast of America.

REVIEW: Outlaw Nation "Back In Babylon" - New Release 2011

Outlaw Nation’s latest release, "Back In Babylon", stretches back to the roots of reggae and dancehall by utilizing high frequencies and buoyant riddims. Optimism not only trickles from each message but through each rhythm and their respective melodies.

“Back In Babylon”, the album-titled track will give you a definite indication about what Outlaw Nation is all about. It kicks off with a hip-hop style drum progression that is eventually united to a partially muted skank rhythm and a keen secondary riff. Although Babylon often has negative connotations in reggae music, the feel of this song totally negates any feelings of struggle.

There are a few things about this album that really protrude the bounds of an average reggae or dancehall album. First of all, they did not try to cover up their use of the drum machine. The DJ’s work really carries each harmony on its shoulders. Each measure contains a typical amount of hi hat cymbals. Outlaw Nation really used rhythm to their advantage with their newest album. “Watch Out! (Caution)” even features some vocal percussion with a beatboxer.

“Celebration” reminds me of a Peter Tosh track. Simeon’s voice and accent is comparable to some of Jamaican reggae’s finest. However, I found it hard to comprehend lyrics at times due to their heavy use of a vocal filter. In this song however, it is easy to determine that Outlaw Nation wanted people to dance and sing. The “soul” that has become a label for New Orleans-style music is well represented in this album. Although there are messages from a socialistic standpoint, much of the album unreservedly expresses happiness.

The song “Danger” provides a contrary message but uses a quite similar rhythm. I found that the guitar simply sways from one note to its neighbor, providing a similar frame for the whole album works.

Outlaw Nation bounds elements of historic reggae and dancehall to more modern production techniques with the release of Back In Babylon. The rhythmical structure carries an upbeat vibe throughout Back In Babylon, while messages of happiness and social awareness ease your mind.
[Written & Reviewed by: Matt Emodi]

.2011 - Back In Babylon
(Original Press):

"Back In Babylon" 2011 - (Original Version)
1) Back In Babylon. 2) Baseline. 3) Celebration. 4) Danger. 5) Love & Music. 6) Honesty. 7) Free Your Mind. 8) Rock Da Beat. 9) Inside Of You. 10) Somewhere. 11) Watch Out [Caution]. 12) Positive Dub.
[Label: Stoopid Records (Cd: 2011)(Digital Version: 2011)]



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