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SOJA's "Get Wiser" Reviewed By Dj Bahilman

Posted by Rebelington 
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SOJA's "Get Wiser" Reviewed By Dj Bahilman
January 18, 2006 03:19AM
Album: Get Wiser
Release: 2006
Label: Innerloop
Rating: 5 stars

It’s been roughly 4 years since the release of SOJA’s first full-length album, the classic “Peace In A Time Of War,” which became one of the standard-bearers for modern US roots reggae. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform live last summer at SNWMF, and even though they had an 11 AM slot on the Village Stage, they absolutely mashed the place up, and not only did they convince the massive that they were as good as their buzz, the abundance of new material hinted at an upcoming CD.

All too often, a great band follows up its breakthrough first album with a flame-out sophomore effort (anybody remember the Spin Doctors?), usually because they try to milk the same formula that worked the first time. SOJA didn’t fall into that trap, but instead built upon their solid roots foundation with some new sounds, including influences from their South American touring. I’ve listened to this CD non-stop for a week, including for 5 hours while my wife delivered our son last week (at her insistence), and I can tell you with certainty that this is a flat-out crucial disc.

Two tracks that came out several years ago on a SOJA sampler disc are updated here. “9-1-1″ is an upbeat tune with a message that’s not hard to deduce from the title, and “You Don’t Know Me” showcases some peppy keyboard work. Ras Bob- heavily influenced by artists such as Anthony B- is featured as a surprisingly good conscious chatter on the tracks “Be Aware” and “Faith Works.” “Sorry” is a special tune in the DC go-go style blended with reggae, and is already receiving some crossover radio play. Na fret, there’s stuff for the hardcore rootsman here too, because, after all, roots reggae remains this band’s strongest style. “Open My Eyes” has some ethereal guitar and a driving bass riddim, and opens the disc in fine style. “Bring Back Truth” (”what people want, you know, is just someone to bring back truth…that’s what I was born to do”) is a killer tune, made even better by some stellar horn work from Gomba Jahbari. “Strong For Them” is another rootical gem with fine Gomba Jahbari support. A song that kind of slipped by me on the first listen might just be the sleeper here- “Can’t Tell Me” sends a clear message to those who feel like judging the band with one of the better verses I’ve read in a while:

I like women and I love getting high

I like a house and a car just fine but

I love Jah and Creation too,

and I don’t really care if it’s all right with you.

I love my family even the bald heads,

and I love my friends even with no dreads

cuz we all get by and to ourselves be true-

and I don’t really care if it’s Rasta to you

SOJA is: Jacob Hemphill (vocals, guitar), Bob Jefferson (bass, vocals), Ken Brownell (percussion), Ryan Berty (drums) and mi bredren Patrick O’Shea (keyboards). They’re the real deal people. Go to www.sojamusic.com for this crucial disc.
Re: SOJA's "Get Wiser" Reviewed By Dj Bahilman
January 18, 2006 03:46AM
awesome review Bahilman!!! and congrats on your new little one!!!!
Re: SOJA's "Get Wiser" Reviewed By Dj Bahilman
January 18, 2006 03:58AM
treez, thanks for the good word for #4. He's taking a bite out of my "DJ time," but he's well worth it. It'll be interesting to see where his musical tastes head...#1 is an Eek freak, #2 digs Johnny Clarke, and #3 loves his Ikahba smiling smiley


Re: SOJA's "Get Wiser" Reviewed By Dj Bahilman
January 18, 2006 08:54PM
hahaha, better keep a close eye on the eak-freak!!! especially after the latest album be put out...kinda scary!!

but i still love the The Freak album, where he does that tune to the Adams Family theme song.