Welland, Ontario-based reggae-rock band Street Pharmacy, hard at work putting the finishing touches on their follow-up to 2015’s Pharmanomics, have announced an upcoming single, “Roaming Souls,” due out this January 2018. The power trio, made up of Ryan Guay (vocals/guitar,) Jesse Robitaille (bass/vocals,) and Isaac Thompson (drums/vocals,) will follow the release with a winter tour throughout Ontario.
Street Pharmacy has built an impressive career with five full-length albums, including breakthrough album Free Delivery and the self-funded release The Legacy of Rudy, recorded on-site with Cuban musicians. Their appearance on Much Music’s TV series disBAND where they received a unanimous “thumbs up” votes from the judges, spawned the rock-fueled album Divorce. Frontman Ryan Guay’s close connection with megastars Walk off the Earth has led to multiple collaborations, including Street Pharmacy’s single “Old Time Beat,” as well as reinforcing the band’s DIY mentality. Street Pharmacy’s brand of hip-hop infused reggae is well represented by the 2012 track “It Ain’t That Crazy”, a collaboration with A-Plus from Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics.
“Roaming Souls” will be the first single off the band’s forthcoming album, due out in 2018. The song uses playful Christmas-time metaphors as a tool to inspire the inner-pariah. Carefully constructed lyrical contrast places the listener right into the unique mind of frontman Ryan Guay, who was misdiagnosed with a plethora of mental illnesses after an episode of prolonged brain swelling brought about by adult chicken pox before being properly diagnosed with encephalitis. The song’s subject matter tackles self-acceptance, even when you find the rest of the world nearly unrelatable, as the first step towards healing and growth.
With the steady growth of the modern American reggae scene, showcased by major genre-focused festivals and countless national tours, the emergence of a new wave of Canadian reggae bands, like MAGIC!, Bedouin Soundclash, Darenots, illScarlett, and Street Pharmacy, has highlighted the genre’s widespread appeal across geographical barriers. The upcoming release of “Roaming Souls” will serve as an inspiration call-to-action for the struggler inside us all.