The Alchemystics
  • Alchemystics EP Review in the Northeast Performer 11/08
    • The Alchemystics
      The Alchemystics
      Posted: 10/13/2009 05:35AM

      [Northeast Performer 11/08]


      The Alchemystics EP

      Produced by Garrett and Demse for Northfire

      Crew Productions | Recorded and mixed by

      Garrett Sawyer, Northfire Recording | Mastered

      by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering

      Reggae fans who are tired of listening to one pale Bob Marley imitation after another will have reason to celebrate when picking up a copy of The Alchemystics new self-titled EP. While reggae sensibilities form the core of the album’s sound, The Alchemystics are not content to rely on standard rhythms and trite chord progressions. Reggae beats are infused with hip-hop lyricism and techno innovations to create a sound that is polished and refreshingly unpredictable. The album opens with “Shine Eye Girl,” an energetic love song that relies heavily on dance beats and hip-hop-style rhymes. Just as the beat threatens to become a little too comfortable and the lyrics a little too predictable, the bridge steps in to introduce a new key, mellower rhythms and more melodic vocals. As the bridge moves seamlessly back to the song’s original style, everything seems to speed up, giving the music an increasingly urgent feel. “Bangers N Mash” continues in the hip-hop vein with more aggressive vocals and a minor key that gives the track a darker sound. Piano is featured heavily and techno tendencies become more apparent. “Peace of Mind” marks a return to traditional reggae rhythm and vocal styles with lyrics that impart messages of both hope and despair over the state of the modern world. “Piece of DUB” is an instrumental track with prominently featured hand drums, woodwinds and melodica. The final track, “Ghetto Red Hot DUB” takes on both reggae and Latin rhythms with mandolin, Spanish-style guitar and trumpet interludes. The minor key and techno effects give the track a downright sinister feel. This track, perhaps more than any other, highlights the band’s versatility by demonstrating a mix of styles and instrumentation. In a world where musicians seem increasingly content to follow established formulas, it’s encouraging to find a band that can defy boundaries with skill and grace. The Alchemystics is a worthy addition to any collection, reggae fan or not. (self-released)

      -Leslie McIntyre