EP Review: The Wise Bloods - Convergence
by Gardy Stein
With all that great music released by established Reggae artists, re-mixes or cover-versions of veterans who have passed away and cross-overs from the pop-mainstream, it's not easy for newcomers in the genre to make their works heard. The Wise Bloods have accepted this challenge, and the London-based band is definitely worth looking out for.
After their 2018 debut EP Emergence, they have continued to hone their craft and work on their sound, until they felt ready to present their follow-up EP Convergence. Apart from the clever, complex word-play involved in the EPs' titles (I'm already curious what the next one will be called!), the four tracks included point to a mature understanding of music and topicality.
Direct and without frills, the band brings across a British minimalism which however doesn't impair the sonic experience, quite to the contrary. In collaboration with Grammy-award-winning engineer Laurent Dupuy, The Wise Bloods manage to impress with crystal clean instrumentals and a resolute sound that's easily recognisable as their own.
"Forever and always, Reggae music is my life!", singer Jesse James makes clear from the beginning of the first track. Treat Me How You Like talks about the important need of feeling appreciated by the people who surround you, both for who you are and what you do. "The song wrote itself over time," says Jesse, "it is about considering your own inner potential and value - one day it will shine through!".
My personal favourite, Turn The Tide strikes a chord with all those who feel overwhelmed by the bad things going on around us. "We stand, we live, we fight... this song is about wanting to make the world better, to do better for the people around you, but feeling powerless to make the change. It's targeting what I see as the causes - capitalism, business interests, fees, Trump-ism, right-wing populism, nationalism... it's a callout of all the things preventing a balanced, fulfilling and peaceful life." Jesse explains. Musically, the track is made interesting by diverse sound effects and dubby elements.
No Confidence now... you can hear the anger in the singer's voice from the first words he utters. Anger about media and politicians feeding the people narratives of hatred and fear, anger about governments making lives harder for the poor and anger about the hypocrisy of the ruling classes. Jesse: "The song is saying if we want to make the change, we have to fond and assert our powers as communities because politicians won't do it!"
The way Echo Chamber begins, it sounds a bit as if we're crashing a band practice, the immediate way this track starts and ends, and grants us a taste of how this band might sound live. Hopefully, the day when we get the full serving is not far - the way this band has climbed the ladder, we might see them across festivals next year!
Convergence is a delightful piece of art that gives us the priviledge to witness the rise of a talented, outspoken and intelligent bunch of people. Make sure you check out The Wise Bloods!
The Wise Bloods - Convergence EP
DIGITAL RELEASE [Urban Breakout Records]
Release date: 04/26/2019
01. Treat Me How You Like
02. Turn The Tide
03. No Confidence
04. Echo Chamber