Mellow Mood ‘Large’ album review
Italy's premiere reggae roots band, Mellow Mood, is taking a stance against capitalism, materialism and fake news in their forthcoming full-length LP Large, out April 6th off La Tempesta Dub and Believe Distribution Services. Fueled with frustration over the current state of global affairs, this Italian five-piece is calling for unity, equality and, at the very least, media transparency throughout their rootsy new 12-track album. Founded in 2005, Mellow Mood has been making music throughout the economic shift that not only took place in America in 2008, but around the world: countries, especially European countries, have had their entire foundations crumble as a result of bankruptcy and terrorism. Every other day there are mass shootings, bailouts, explosions, governmental conspiracies, civilian casualties, cover-ups. How are we ever going to get on our feet if the ground keeps quaking? Mellow Mood has always stood for socioeconomic and political commentary, and there never has been a more urgent time to take action than now.
How are we ever going to get on our feet if the ground keeps quaking?
Following their 2012 full-length Well Well Well, Large escalates the band's disgruntled outlook on today's market economy to a whole new level – as well it should, for it's been six more years of living in fear. Fear is what feeds terrorists to do the atrocious, inhumane things that they do. Fear is what gets improper leaders elected, providing false hope whilst pointing the finger. Fear is what renders the general public speechless, voiceless, as they sit silently watching the evening news. Well, Mellow Mood is not afraid.
The album starts off with a humble, yet firm missive that Mellow Mood is “afraid of nobody”. The track “Call Back The Love” may be short and sweet, but it strikes a stance for the rest of the album – we are ready to fight for freedom. Whether that be freedom of expression, from oppression and anything in between, Mellow Mood promotes a new dawn for modern-day struggling in the rootsy track two, “Tuff Rocky Road”. Why all the violence in the first place? Why must we match fighting with fighting? In “Ms. Mary”, Mellow Mood questions this vicious cycle and how it got instituted in the first place. It just doesn't make any sense. Although shining a light on murders and more, this track has a quite a psychedelic synth on the bridge to vibe to. Track four, “Sound Of A War”, is the first single off the upcoming LP and centers around mass media misinformation. That's right, fake news, as the kids say. Who and what can we trust if the messages we're receiving are lies... purposefully fed to us to keep us docile, dormant. “The system just stopped working”, so in the face of system failure, it's time we have a media reboot. The onomatopoeia in the song's chorus truly emphasizes the war metaphor, for we are at war with our own minds each and every day, reading between the lines of newscasters.
...with the right amount of effort, we can all coexist harmoniously.
Up next is the title track “Large”, reminding us that materialism isn't everything. Sure, we can own a big house, fancy cars and rake in the fruit of our labor until we die, but what do we leave behind? Nothing of value if we lived a life disconnected from others. The whole hierarchy of modern-day capitalism is flawed; we forget how to relate to one another, care for each other. It's all about me, me, me. Mellow Mood overtly reminds listeners “consuming consumes minds”: don't spin your wheels so much that you leave all others in the dust, for the rat race is still a race. The next track instructs “don't give your heart to no one”, which is a stark contrast from the last one. Mellow Mood doesn't mean to contradict themselves; they just mean to watch out for the sharks in the day-to-day tank we're all treading water in. There is always someone able and willing to drag you under if you let your guard down enough. The rapped lyrical delivery in “Heart To No One” is unique as well, highlighting the diversification that Mellow Mood brings to their music. The rest of the album continues in this call to action manner, with “It Can't Work” talking fake news again, “Another Day” encouraging finding your own light in a dark world, “Daddy” pointing to a proverbial father figure to help guide you in times of stress, “String Up A Sound” bringing reggaeton into the mix, “Eye Waata” calling out human injustices throughout history and finally, “Place Called Home” signifying that with the right amount of effort, we can all coexist harmoniously. This earth is ours and we all equally share it.
Mellow Mood is set to tour the UK and European nations immediately following their April 6th release. Considering Large is less of an album and more of a crusade, Mellow Mood will most likely not cease until their message is heard loud and clear around the world. For more information, visit www.mellowmoodmusic.com.
Pre-order Large album:
- Call Back The Love
- Tuff Rocky Road
- Ms. Mary
- Sound Of A War
- Heart To No One
- It Can't Work
- Another Day
- String Up A Sound
- Eye Waata
- Place Called Home
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Reggae.