SOJA – Amid The Noise and Haste
1.) Tear It Down
2.) Your Song (featuring Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley)
3.) I Believe (featuring Michael Franti and Nahko)
4.) Easier (featuring Anuhea and J. Boog)
5.) Shadow (featuring Trevor Young of SOJA)
6.) Once Upon A Time
7.) Promises and Pills (featuring Alfred the MC)
9.) She Still Loves Me (featuring Collie Buddz)
12.) Treading Water
13.) Lucid Dreams (featuring Nahko)
14.) Driving Faster (Featuring Bobby Lee)
15.) Talking to Myself
16.) Translation of One
17.) Like It Used To (Featuring Mala Rodriguez)
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Record Label: ATO Records
Official Website: SOJA Website
SOJA needs little introduction to the Pier’s audience, but here’s a quick rundown nonetheless. The eight-piece reggae rock band formed in the late 1990’s and has steadily climbed its way to the top of the genre. SOJA has toured the world several times over, attracting a huge international fan base along the way. The band has shared the stage with music powerhouses like Dave Matthews Band and 311, and has performed at nearly every major festival. Produced by Supa Dups, SOJA’s 2014 release, Amid the Noise and Haste, is the bands sixth studio album!
In many ways, SOJA stayed true to their formula on Amid the Noise and Haste. Let’s see, two parts passionate, social commentary. Check. Familiar reggae melodies; got that too. But, this time they added a couple new ingredients to the formula — an impressive group of collaborators and a “boomier” sound. The collaborators added significantly to several of the songs; and, on a handful of tunes, they, along with a bass-filled sound, pushed SOJA towards the radio-listening world.
The strength of Amid the Noise and Haste is the collaborators and SOJA assembled an all-star lineup. Six of the albums thirteen songs feature collaborators. The album includes Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Hawaiians J Boog and Anuhea, Collie Buddz, Michael Franti, Nahko and Alfred the MC. Bassist Bobby Lee returns with vocals on the track “Driving Faster” which should please fans who missed his vocals on their 2012 release of Strength to Survive.
It’s common knowledge that if you want to make a song better, add Damian Marley and you’re good to go — which is exactly what SOJA did with “Your Song”. The radio-friendly track is dedicated to fans who are asked to remind the band why they got into music.
Collie Buddz takes up a verse and adds intermittent vocals on the love lost, love won song, “She Still Loves Me”. The song is relatable, with a chorus and melody that gets stuck in the listeners head. Vocalist, Jacob Hemphill’s self-empowerment message runs throughout the album, but is most evident on the track “I Believe”. The collaboration with Michael Franti and Nahko makes the song one of the albums strongest, as Franti lends his trademark vocals and upbeat, radio-friendly style.
Amid the Noise and Haste is another strong showing by rock-reggae royalty, SOJA. The album is what fans expect from SOJA — socially conscience lyrics and familiar reggae sounds. But, Amid the Noise and Haste includes a couple nice twists. The inclusion of so many great collaborators and a bass-filled sound, not only helped create a strong album, it also nudged SOJA towards a more radio friendly sound — at least, on a handful of tunes.
Written & Reviewed By: Kit Chalberg
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]