In college, playing in a band is practically a rite of passage, and in a town as densely packed with undergrads as Isla Vista, it’s also kind of cliche. But don’t tell that to Rebelution. Since forming in 2004, this reggae rock fourpiece have gone from a casual blip on the I.V. party circuit to one of the best-selling reggae acts in the nation, even earning a nod from iTunes for Best Reggae Album for their 2007 debut, Courage to Grow. This past Tuesday, August 4, bandmates Eric Rachmany (vocals), Rory Carey (keys), Wes Finley (drums), and Marley D. Williams (bass) unveiled their much-anticipated sophomore effort to the world. In many ways, the aptly titled Bright Side of Life picks up right where Courage left off, packed with groovy guitar hooks, crisp drumbeats, and uplifting lyrics. But unlike its predecessor, Life seems to find that perfect balance between rock, jazz, and dub that has garnered the band so many non-reggae fans. The resulting record is something that truly feels like Santa Barbara, drawing on the bandmates’ I.V. roots without sounding silly or self-indulgent.
Rebelution’s Sophomore Release
I.V. Reggae Rockers Unveil Bright Side of Life
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
“I think Isla Vista influenced us a lot and helped us get our basic sound, but I think there’s definitely an improvement [on this record],” explained Williams. “Us all being the same age and being good friends, the lyrics Eric writes kind of represent us and a lot of people around us. I think it all started from that college environment, but it’s also representing growth in the lyrics and musically.”
In discussion, one can gather that these guys are a lot more self-aware than their I.V. party roots let on. They even maintain that the many pressures of their oftentimes raucous college surroundings did little to distract from their musical goals.
“One thing that I saw in everybody and that I try to do myself is just hold yourself accountable,” said Williams of the band’s I.V. beginnings. “As long as everybody does that, you really can move forward and make strides through the Isla Vista chaos and all the stuff that can sidetrack you in that environment.”
“It was really fun, too,” added Rachmany. “We got out of class and it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, we gotta practice.’ It was like, ‘Let’s go jam!’ because that’s what we love to do. That musical release can get you through life and the day. I wouldn’t even say it was ever hard work or difficult to get stuff done; it was just a natural progression of what we like to do.”