Avidly revealing your life’s most emotional and spiritual challenges, particularly your drive to rebel against society’s expectations on love and integrating into the community, has long fueled the success of rock and reggae music. The versatile, politically and spiritually charged London funk-rock-reggae band, Mangoseed, powerfully filled their multifaceted debut album, ‘Basquiat,’ with their disdain for readily following what society says is acceptable.
‘Basquiat,’ which is set to be released on May 22, features lead vocalist, Nicholai La Barrie; lead guitarist, Karlos Coleman; bass guitarist, Richard Hardy; and drummer Sam Campbell. Their songs incorporate a unique blend of influences from such bands as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jean-Michel Basquiat, who the record is named after. The artist’s focus on suggestive contrasts and rebellious ability easily influenced the thriving bass, guitar riffs and drums, in support of La Barrie’s relatable, powerful lyrics.
Starting off as strong as its animal namesake, the first track on ‘Basquiat,’ titled ‘Lioness,’ has a gratifying hard rock sound that powerfully highlights the pain of losing love. With lyrics and instrumentals that are reminiscent of Sublime’s signature sound in the 1990s, the reggae rock track instantly proved Mangoseed’s commitment to show that is possible to overcome challenges that regularly reek havoc in relationships.
One of the album’s later tracks, ‘Standing On High,’ also showcased the band’s ease at performing electronic hard rock. La Barrie yet again impressively sung about not letting anyone, even a woman he strongly cares about, stand in his way of what he truly wants to do in life.
While Mangoseed captivately thrives on its dynamic grip of the hard rock genre, the band also proved its impressive interpretation of reggae music in several songs on ‘Basquiat.’ One of the standout songs on the record is the emotional ‘Devil In The Road,’ in which La Barrie sings about being tempted to go against what he’s always told to do by society. He emotionally mentions about wanting to follow his own path that he creates for himself.
Another noteworthy, soothing and calming song on the rock-reggae band’s first record is ‘This Life.’ The song, which opens with soothing guitar and drum beats, chronicles the hardships of overcoming struggles in life. The group’s leader sings about having to endure a drastic change in his life, but the evolution of his identity is necessary to improve his standing in society.
The most noteworthy song on ‘Basquiat’ is its first single, ‘Brix-Tone,’ which features an intriguing mix of a deep dub bass and haunting guitar riffs. The song powerfully explains the story of Briston, the South London suburb that has been home of rock punk in England for over 30 years. The band chronicles their desire to not only survive, but thrive, in the world of rock and reggae music in the influential title town. Their declaration shows they not only understand the dangers of the rock world, but are also willing and able to overcome them, proving they’re really serious about making music. The lyrics show they don’t want to sacrifice their happiness to follow the norm.
‘Basquiat’ is a truly impressive powerhouse debut record from the promising Mangoseed, who proves their versatile and unique vocal and instrumental sounds in every song. From the captivating ‘Brix-Tone,’ which focuses on their determination to make a name for themselves and thrive in the music business, to the emotional ‘Devil In The Road,’ which details their determination to creating their own destiny, the band’s first album dynamically showcases their potential to thrive in their chosen field.
Written by: Karen Benardello