Israelites Roots

The Israelites play bass-heavy ska, reggae and rock-steady, and they do it for Jesus. A Christian traditional ska band coming out of California, the subject matter they sing about may scare away many listeners, but the music is decent. The Israelites take a heavier approach than most West Coast bands, relying on the bass, which is turned way up, as the anchor for the music, giving it more of a more dubby feel. Jazz solos are mixed in with the music and on a couple instrumentals, the band really shines, but the vocal tracks are the weakness of the album, for two reasons. For one, the band tries to focus too much on getting their message across, which conflicts with the music. And secondly, the vocalist just can't sing that well. As a result, the songs are hit and miss, with some songs verging on cheesiness and others being a strong mix of different Jamaican music. It's worth a listen if you' re die-hard fan of the genre, but for the casual listener, there are better albums out there. (Jump Up)