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Passafire: Longshot

Passafire
Longshot
(Easy Star Records)

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At the risk of sounding like the biggest hipster to ever hipster about anything, I was thrilled to hear that Passafire had a new one, because (here we go) I went to SCAD with them and remember when they first started out as a band, seeing their name on flyers in Savannah over a decade ago and hearing them play downtown.  Look at them now. They’ve played the Vans Warped Tour, and have played with John Brown’s Body, 311, Matisyahu, and The Wailers. So as someone who’s known their music for so long, I was really curious and excited about this album.

The title track opens the album, contemplative and dub-inspired with a deep groove. You can definitely hear the band’s roots rock and punk influences with the slightly heavier, more guitar-driven fare like “Drifter” and “Find My Way,” which feel strongly influenced by bands like Sublime and 311, but in a way that creates a compelling sense of direction on the album. (However, the reggae is still there on “Rapunzel” and “Fireside” and it’s as steady as ever!)

It doesn’t always go where you expect it to if you’re looking for reggae all the way through, but Longshot definitely paints a strong picture of the band and their evolution, and illustrates how versatile they’ve become. The musicianship on this album is truly impressive, especially on tracks like “Gone Yesterday,” which seamlessly combine a synth-heavy intro with an almost dancehall backbeat, and delicate acoustic guitars layered within rich vocal harmonies. The band isn’t afraid to get heavy or deep on this one, and they do it with substance and style.

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About Andy Halo

Andy Halo is a queer trans artist who moved from Brooklyn to the Bay Area in 2015, where he plays bass and keyboards in various jazz, funk, and rock projects including his own electronic music. He works in IT and has two cats named Rico Suave and Frankie Sinatra.
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