Within the reggae-rock world, there is an interesting dynamic when it comes to new artists making it big on a national scale. It seems there hasn’t been the same type of blossoming underground scene that other genres have enjoyed over the past decade. For hip-hop music, SoundCloud alone has attributed to many overnight sensations and a strange wave of new music so different from what people were used to. For a band or artist to create momentum in the reggae-rock world it takes the perfect combination of relentlessness, steadfast grind, and of course a stroke of luck. Obviously, talent is a necessity, but it takes years of perfecting the craft in small venues and finding ways to make ends meet while trying to get the music out there. Some artists go through this grueling process and never get the success that they so rightfully deserve; it’s tragic. It appears that there is somewhat of a figurative barrier preventing fresh new music from entering the consciousness of mainstream fans and taking a seat at the table with the upper echelon of popular reggae rock artists (think Pepper or Slightly Stoopid). That being said, I believe we are in a renaissance period where newer artists like The Elovators or Kyle Smith, for example, are putting pressure on that barrier and are creating a new era of great reggae rock music. As further proof of the change to come Reggae 360 was blessed with the opportunity to listen to the debut album of blossoming reggae rock sensation Joe Sambo and we believe he has what it takes to crush that barrier and break through to the next level.
Joe Sambo is not a little man. He boasts a large frame backed up by a large personality, and an even larger voice. Today on April 20th, 2019 Joe has released his first studio album titled The Wrong Impression. After listening to the final product we, at Reggae 360, were collectively blown away. It is one thing to have a polished sound but when you add a fresh and unique style, deeply compelling songwriting, and rhythms that make your body want to move no matter the situation, well then you have a masterpiece; that is exactly what Joe has blessed us with. Flexing insane range and bold ambition The Wrong Impression is a musical journey that takes you through the mind of one of the most thoughtful and insightful up-and-comers in the reggae-rock stratosphere. Joe is able to bend styles and create such a unique sound by throwing caution to the wind in this debut release. His sound cannot be put in a box. To take a stab at describing this sound it’s as if he took a little bit of heavy metal, classic rock, bluegrass, alt rock, folk, hip-hop, island music, pop, and jazz then throw it all in a blender, hit the switch for 30 seconds and served it in a mug with nice cold reggae flavored ice cubes.
The album starts off with a bang thanks to the intro track, “The Answer”. The first thing you hear is the crackle of an old record warming up and a classic guitar riff with an upbeat rhythm that blasts you into full send mode; a place you stay until the last song. Joe switches up rhythms in this song multiple times showing you just how flawlessly he can jump in and out of playing whatever style he feels like. An ambitious start to one of the hottest reggae rock albums of 2019. The second track, “How We Do”, is one that everyone should already be familiar with as it was his debut single; if not then shame on you for not paying closer attention to Reggae 360. “How We Do” will forever be synonymous with staying positive in all circumstances; for example- blasting reggae in a dark cold New Hampshire winter (see YouTube for the official music video). The lyrics for this song represent something that makes this album so unique in Joe’s incredible ability to tell stories and make people feel positive emotions through his words. Joe is a talented storyteller and someone who you can see has reflected heavily on life, learned through some of the hardest lessons and has ultimately found some core truths that he wants to share with you. Joe’s insight and wisdom can be found in the lyrics throughout this album with some of the deepest tracks being “Overcome”, “Hope”, and “The Wrong Impression”. Quotable lines that make you think like- “Now every time I go and stress about my future to progress I kind of lose the confidence in me” are sprinkled throughout this album. It’s not just dope verses and dope rhythms, Joe also delivers some very specific vibes. For example, “Wonderful Life”; far from a typical love song but it still hits that spot when you’re looking for something to play in the car while you ride with your significant other. On the flip side of love, “Why do we fight” paints a picture of a man strolling down the beach boulevard and being accosted by an angry and drunk creatine chewing meathead looking to start a problem for no reason; we’ve all seen it. One of the coolest things about this song aside from the vivid imagery is the progression from chill reggae melodies to heavy metal screaming towards the end; I’ve never heard anything like it before and I love that. In fact, I love everything about this album. Songs like “Clear the Air” and “Positive Energy” fill you up with positive vibrations and leave you fully satisfied and completely content. I literally feel like a better person when I listen to this album. Some of the songs are just straight up fun like “Freeloader” or “Reclaim”. These are songs that make you happy, put air under your feet, and put you exactly where you need to be. Every song on this album is worth listening to in an intimate setting. My recommendation- throw a robe on, light some candles, pour up a nice 2016 Montoya cabernet, and hit play.
My closing thought is that Joe Sambo has the chance to become a star in the reggae-rock world; his music is proof. This album is flawless in my opinion and I could not be more on board with all the success that comes Joe’s way. With top-notch production and the right team behind him, Joe is set to use this debut as a catapult to share his unique sound with people all over the world. The people need these vibes. Music is timeless and good music is eternal. This album is legendary status.
Photos by Erik Fralick Photography