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House Of Shem - Island Vibrations Album Review

24 Feb 2011 // A review by Dilemma

House of Shem could well be the first family of Reggae in New Zealand. Not only are they Whanau, but between all the band members they have played in pioneering New Zealand Reggae bands and built the sound of reggae in our country through their impeccable credentials.

On the bio page for House of Shem it says they are a “a rare mixture of power and beauty. This band’s incredible tightness, heavenly harmonies, conscious lyrics and blend of traditional and contemporary reggae styles will leave you spellbound.”

Honestly, using the word spellbound in this case is not just hype or exaggeration, listening to‘Island Vibrations’ the title track on House of Shem’s new album, you can feel the magic right from the lead in with island drums. It’s the kind of sweet reggae music that makes you think of hula girls dancing around a beach bonfire. It really is the quintessential sound of our reggae music and makes you want to sway your hips under the stars with someone special.

House of Shem really have shown their diverse reggae sound with the next few tracks ‘Sweet Love’ and ‘Move Along Together’ which parallel UB40 in the early 90’s. Filled with beautiful melodies and harmonies which pull two different vocal styles, not to mention their ability to add cohesive reggae raps. ‘Not Gonna Run’is a brass driven track that keeps the reggae vibe while stepping up the tone and beat.

Thrown into the middle of the Album is Ruia ‘Tahuri Mai Ra’ which is a Te Reo reggae track that showcases the beauty and natural rhythm of the Maori Language. 

Its no wonder that ‘Party’ transports me to my childhood and listening to Herbs and UB40 and the ease that comes with reggae music. The best thing about reggae music is that it can’t help but be social, in lyrics and interaction. You never feel alone or isolated maybe its because of the elements that put together reggae which make it hopeful and full.

‘All I need is you’is one of those hopeful tracks that makes you believe in the uniting power and heartfelt love that is expressed in reggae, its barely never, if ever negative.

The saxophone on ‘Brighter day’,  ‘Jah life’along with the sound of the other later tracks continue to re-enforce how good reggae is for the soul, even if you are not usually a fan of reggae music, you will love this album because it is filled with love. 


About House Of Shem

House of Shem hail from Aotearoa, New Zealand and like many legendary reggae groups this band is built around the classic harmony trio format. At the helm was Carl Perkins, a man with over thirty years experience writing and playing reggae music. As a former member of Herbs, Mana and The Twelve Tribes Of Israel amongst others, Carl’s musical credentials are impeccable.

Two of Carl's sons, Te Omeka and Isaiah, completed the line-up. They not only provide harmonies and play keyboards, they are both lead vocalist and composers in their own right. It is this blood link and family bond that renders the sum of their combined voices as something really extraordinary. Each of the three has their own distinct song writing style and voice, effectively giving the band three lead singers. The harmonies are sublime and the precision of their ensemble performance is phenomenal.

House Of Shem’s long awaited second album Island Vibration was recorded in 2010 at Auckland’s Roundhead studios. The band enlisted the engineering expertise of the legendary Mr Errol Brown. Brown is renowned for recording and mixing albums with the best in reggae music including Bob Marley & The Wailers, Burning Spear and Third World and has worked on Grammy award winning albums by Damian Marley, Julian Marley and Lauren Hill. Island Vibration was then mixed at Bob Marley’s own Tuff Gong studios in Jamaica by Errol Brown. Island Vibration was released on 14th Feb 2011 and debuted at #1 on the Official RIANZ NZ Charts and iTunes.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for House Of Shem


Year: 2013
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Island Vibration
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Keep Rising
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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