Together Not Apart: BackBeat SoundSystem


BBSS album coverLizzy Brookes reviews Together Not Apart,the debut full-length album from the Cornish uptempo band, BackBeat SoundSystem.

They are an energetic eight-piece home-grown in Cornwall, who go by the name of BackBeat SoundSystem; their music is “made with movement in mind”. Their combined influences, including reggae, roots, dance, funk and dub, give the guys in BackBeat SoundSystem their upbeat sound and infectious party feel.

Their debut full-length album Together Not Apart was released on 13th October, 2014 after releasing two EPs in previous years. This marks a pivotal point in BackBeats’s career, one that started from humble means. They are now signed by Easy Star Records, the New York-based label behind the reggae collective Easy Star All-Stars, with whom BackBeat toured and became friends with along the way.

Anyone who attended the Together Not Apart album launch party in Perranporth last month will agree that BackBeat SoundSystem are one to witness live; they display a great uplifting style and have fantastic onstage energy to really get the dreadlocks swaying. (After watching frontman, Dean, the envy for dreads grows a little stronger).

The tracks played from Together Not Apart were definitely well received; bass-led and laden with steady grooves that naturally rounded out the rhythm section.

All 12 songs are pleasantly packed with multi-vocals and harmonies with catchy hooks from lead vocalist Dean Forrest. Second vocalist Darren Kendall adds more variety to the vocal section, with lots of switching from Dean’s melodies to his own verses of cleverly worded reggae style rap.

The keys, played by super-twirly-moustache-wearer Elf Forest, adds a range of sounds from retro organ to clean piano with added dub effects, which really produce a funky reggae feel.

‘Fighting Bull’, the introductory song of the album, begins with a drum roll into a big musical burst; the brass section leads with a strong riff, bouncing off the powerful bass line. The brass adds a brilliant new level of depth and fun throughout the whole album, and more so in their live performances, with the trumpet and saxophone harmonising well in many of the riffs along the way.

The album’s title, Together Not Apart, reflects the meaning of the message behind it. With so much happening in the world today to pull people apart, BBSS wanted to promote a feeling of community and togetherness. With the very album itself being funded by likeminded and generous BackBeat fans pulling together in a fundraiser campaign, raising three times the band’s humble goal, the title does seem fitting.

For all those who have yet to hear the organic roots of funky reggae talent pulse through their speakers, this all-round happy vibe and groove-filled album has definitely been worth the wait!

Check out the free download for one of the album’s tracks ‘Come Undone’ (see below) via Soundcloud or buy the new album here

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