My first introduction to The Hip Abduction (“THA”) was in review of their upcoming release Gold Under the Glow (ILS Group/Caroline/Universal), and immediately I was taken in by the infectious grooves and catchy vocals the septet from the Gulf Coast of South Florida offer. I immediately felt transported to a tropical beach with an umbrella drink in hand, an ocean breeze brushing against my face and warm sand between my toes, dancing with a beautiful collection of people carrying smiles as big as mine. THA has a variety of global influences evident in their music, from Afrobeat to Dub-Reggae, Indie-Pop to Caribbean Soca, and Roots to Rock. Their music is typified by deep Dub bass lines, funky Afrobeat percussion, African and Island strings, lively horns and a catchy pop edge to the lyrics and vocals that are complimented nicely by the world music surroundings. THA is a high energy, tightly composed outfit with honest and engaging lyrics. Their music sounds as if John Brown’s Body and Lotus were to provide the rhythm and instrumentation for a Paul Simon and Chris Berry collaboration. THA has shared the stage with an incredible collection of artists, including Ziggy Marley, 311, Thievery Corporation, Umphrey’s McGee, moe., The Funky Meters, Galactic, and Easy Star All-Stars. They have performed at various festivals in the past, including Wanee Music Festival, String Cheese Incident’s Suwanee Hulaween, and The BIG What? Festival.
Gold Under the Glow, set to be released March 11, 2016, will be the band’s 3rd LP and is the first studio effort since their critically acclaimed self-titled release in 2013, which debuted at #5 on the Billboard Reggae Charts. Recorded in Nashville and produced by Dabney Morris (Wild Cub), the band has expanded their polyrhythmic, world vision with more indie and afro pop applications. The band consists of David New (Vocals, Guitar), Pat Klemawesch (Kora, Percussion, Vocals), Chris Powers (Bass), Dave Johnson (Bari Sax, Tenor Sax), Paul Chlapowski (Keyboard), Matt Poynter (Drums, Vocals), and John Holt III (Kamal Ngoni, Vocals, Guitar).
The album’s opening track “Before We Lose Our Mind” was released as a single at the beginning of 2016 and proudly demonstrates the diversity of influences on THA. The track opens with a soft ambient intro that transitions to a synth driven rhythm which then gives way to the island rhythms and a real calypso feel backing David New’s lead vocals. The album is structured with a nice compliment of upbeat, higher energy tracks with slower, groove oriented tracks. Both “Higher” and “Lifted” present Reggae-heavy beats and instrumentation with subtle dubstep overtones. “All I Need” is a catchy tune where the chorus really provides a fitting maxim for the band: “I don’t really know why, but your love is all I need.” “Crazy” and “Come Alive” are both buoyant tracks that are driven by the Caribbean/Afrobeat percussion and melodious refrains. “Stand Up For Love” and “Light it Up” both stuck out on this album, where artists’ influences on the band really come to the forefront. “Stand Up For Love” has a soft acoustic intro that pops into polyrhythmic percussion and a driving bass line, and one could easily place the track right in the middle of the Talking Heads’ Remain in the Light. “Light it Up” conjures the image of Paul Simon writing music on the beaches of Jamaica, with a funky bass line, active percussion, and vibrant horns with an overall Caribbean tone. “Ka’iwi” is a slower, melodic Rocksteady beat with percussive strings and pronounced guitar work. “Wander Away” closes the album in similar fashion as it opens, an upbeat island/calypso rhythm supporting a strong vocal-led track with a chorus that feels as though it could be used in the Lion King.
The album as a whole has a great flow to it, with most if not all of the tracks working in both a studio setting as well as a live setting. The energy THA brings in their performances is tough to match, as the name The Hip Abduction would indicate, and it should be expected to see them at more festivals and venues throughout the country and the world in years to come. Come out and support this dynamic, positive, and cohesive septet by purchasing their album, available March 11, and catching them on the road in 2016. They have dates throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast during the Spring, and are already scheduled for a handful of festivals including Slide Into Spring Festival, Shaky Knees Festival, and The Purple Hatter’s Ball.