Bedouin Soundclash: Party Reggae

The album, “Where Have the Songs Played Gone?” is Bedouin Soundclash’s latest release. Consisting of five songs, “Where Have the Songs Played Gone?” is short, sweet and to the point. The Canadian trio has an upbeat reggae style, instrumented with guitars, percussion, rough vocals and horns. The first song, “Stand Alone,” is spirited yet gentle. The instrumentation is quite simple with acoustic guitars, vocals and small percussion instruments, such as tambourine. The lead singer declares a clear, straightforward message: “I won’t go until I stand alone.” Towards the middle of the song, the lead singer is joined by backup vocals singing harmonies and cannons, adding depth to the simple vocal melody. The general feeling of “Stand Alone” is personal and relaxed, yet emotionally grounded and confident. After the first song, Bedouin Soundclash’s party-ready reggae style begins to shine. The second song, “Radio Palais” is an upbeat recollection of “the days when we would play the radio palais” and how the “sound systems bang to the song it sang.” The song is clearly a celebration of music and how music brings people together. The feel of the song is bright and summer-like. The rest of the album is more similar to “Radio Palais” than it is to “Stand Alone”. The third song on the album is “Disgeneration,” a cry to the vocalist’s generation to branch out of the social norm and “connect the generations.” The song itself is a blend of musical styles, as the danceable rhythmic guitar riffs give the song a strong reggae sound, while horns and chromatic melodic lines add elements of jazz to the group’s reggae style. The feel of “Disgeneration” is a fiery call to action. The fourth song “Talking Man” is very similar to “Radio Palais” in its instrumentation, and it is also a memoir. Unlike “Radio Palais”, “Talking Man” is not entirely reflective. The singer tells a story about how his band “had tonight but still let your band play.” The song is a confident anthem about how Bedouin Soundclash “carries the beat” and can’t be copied. The final song, “On My Block” reverts back to the jazzy style of “Radio Palais”. “On My Block” is rich with vocal harmonies and horn melodies. The song has a happy, warm feeling to it and would make a nice backdrop for a summer pool party. The song is unique from the others on the album because it includes a nice instrumental segment that adds variation to the song and provides a break from the repeated riffs and vocal lines. Overall, “Where Have All the Songs Played Gone?” is an excellent album. Admittedly, the musical elements on the album are very simple. The guitar parts are repeated riffs and the percussion is simple. The lead singer, Jay Malinowski, has a raspy tenor voice that is nothing like the smooth vocals that many listeners seek in their music. Because everything is so simple, all the songs are catchy and easy to listen to. In addition to simplicity, the happy and bright tone of their music makes Bedouin Soudclash’s music enjoyable to listen to. Bedouin Soundclash should attract listeners who enjoy Reggae, Alternative or something relaxing yet uplifting. “Where Have All the Songs Played Gone?” is also great because it’s short. The entire album is a mere seventeen minutes long, but every second counts and is packed with energy. Grade: 5