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Lost Tribe Aotearoa - Album Review: Lost Tribe Aotearoa

14 May 2020 // A review by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

Lost Tribe Aotearoa are a group of musicians bubbling from various spots in the North Island, having formed in Raglan in December 2017. Their debut single Irie won the 2018 Mai FM Big Break competition and made the NZ music charts at #8. Later, a stunning music video was made by NZ On Air for their single Badman; viewable here, and following that, they made another phenomenal music video for their later single Wicked Man; viewable here. The band’s debut EP Stick Together was nominated for 2019 Best Roots Artist at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, alongside NZ Music heroes Troy Kingi and L.A.B. Since then, the band had themselves a stellar 2019 making memories touring, and now finally released a whopping fourteen track album full of golden tracks. Their sound is an explosive mixture of roots reggae, blues, ska, metal, hip-hop and psych-rock influences.

Track one The Prophet Spoke has an eerie, melodious open on keys by Lisa McLeod, with a psychedelic feel, met later with a ska rhythm on guitar, and beautifully deep vocals of Tux Severne. The lyricism has strong messages specific to Aotearoa’s history and understanding as a nation. The lyrics write of harmony, to keep one’s head up in unison, spread the message of peace and “giving hand[s]”, yet still, paying homage to the heart of Aotearoa’s culture.

Dread Rock Holiday is a roots reggae, skanking tune with infectiously good vocals, and a moody, rhythmic guitar running throughout, whilst Stick Together is a real diamond track, luring us into the groove with the effortless, deep bass of Vincent David and slick, sharp drumming of Boyd Turongo Dixon. The lyrics re-awaken the importance of community; the words “many hands make light work” definitely should resonate with all listeners.

Track four, Blazing, is another reggae friendly tune, with a drop at 30 seconds into a solid hip-grinding beat. You hear the works of the electric guitar solo at 3 minutes 35 seconds. Badman is a rhythmic and soulful track, showcasing the vocals of Jesse Biddle and Ben Aves, raising awareness to New Zealand’s statistics with domestic violence; preaching of freedom from the despair it causes. All revenue from the Badman music video was donated to help the victims of the Christchurch shooting; a pensive and honourable act of LTA.

My Roots is a slower, catchy track with some lyrics in Te Reo Maori. The track touches on the power behind remembering one’s ancestry, one’s tribe or iwi, remembering a time that was once lived solely off the land, and glorifying one’s genealogy or whakapapa. Lost Generation kills the bubble and skank and, interestingly, adds a circus-like thematic outro, fading into heavy metal riffs, while bringing back the raspy vocals of Tux.

Ride On continues the roots reggae sound, but the guitars seem to evolve and transform from psychedelic nodes, to heavier riffs and hints of blues, while Ganja Farmer is another soul-reviver, slower in tempo. The tenth track; Wicked Man, is an extraordinary song. It’s full of energy and would definitely resonate with listeners; having heavy riffs and deep bass resembling that of NZ music icons like Kora and L.A.B.

Cold Days is a bluesy ballad showing the mastery of Jesse Biddle’s voice, mixed with a blues/country sound of the guitar and keys that the band then mesh into another captivating skank and What Goes Up is a song about rights, love, strife, tribulations and riding life’s wave with the good and the bad. Cleverly, Irie (the first song the band ever wrote) and Irie - Remix (Featuring Sir T) end the album in its glory; leaving us with a message of positivity, togetherness and release.

You can tell these musos are a “family band”; they’re homely, tight, fun and collaborate exceptionally well together. Their messages are praised and loved by many and their live presence is uplifting. Lost Tribe Aotearoa’s self-titled album is available now on major streaming platforms; it is recorded and produced at Roundhead by Scott Seabright and mastered at Kog by Chris Chetland.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )


Lost Tribe Aotearoa
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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