Written by: PP on 22/03/2014 16:59:35

Another 2013 release that I discovered missing from our coverage last year. The band in question is Passafire from Savannah, Georgia, who have been happening for quite a while considering "Vines" is their fifth studio album overall. They play a mixture of ska and reggae with some classic rock style solos embedded within. All of it sounds rather professional and well thought out, characterized by a true chill-out vibe that makes you want to lie and nap under a palm tree with a huge sombrero hat covering your face.

That's a good thing, by the way, because Passafire's absolute strength is their ability to deliver truly relaxing songs. Thoughts go towards our local ska/reggae band Babylove & The Van Dangos, as well as genre heavyweights in The Slackers, The Aggrolites, and Pepper during various parts of the album. There's also a progressive sense to the record every now and then; "Go" for example recalls the 3rd wave progressive ska of RX Bandits on "...And Then The Battle Begun", albeit in a slower tempo version of course. Most of the album is spent at chilled out tempos though, with funky bass guitars setting the tone alongside some summery keyboards on the background. Vocalist Ted Bowne's style is reminiscent of Sublime's late Bradley Nowell, which should give an indication to just how talented this guy is in his trade, and his up-then-down range of melodies is impressive to say the least. Check them out on "Phony Imposter", which also features a throwback towards the slightly pop/&B oriented Minus The Bear, or on album highlight "All In Our Minds" which is as Sublime as it gets.

"Vines" in general is a surprisingly solid and enjoyable ska/reggae album. Usually I like to have the punk element embedded within to make it sound extra fun, but here, Passafire steer clear from any speedy sections and rely on their steady chill out vibe, which I've mentioned several times in this review already. It works to their advantage, as it leaves "Vines" sounding like it's miles ahead of your average ska/reggae album.


Download: All In Our Minds, Earthquake, Right Thing, Go
For the fans of: Babylove & The Van Dangos, The Aggrolites, Pepper, Sublime
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.11.2013
Easy Star Records

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