Album review: The Wayward Suns | Paradigm

The Wayward Suns are a smoking local five piece collective, who on the strength of their debut album, ‘Paradigm’, will be rapidly going places, and fast – be sure to check out our feature interview with the band on the pages of this month’s magazine. Their debut record, ‘Paradigm’, was laid down at the creative mecca of Love Street Studios, with the ever-prolific Scotty French handling production duties.

The album is a genre-blending menagerie of reggae, blues, roots and funk underpinned with hip-hop inflected grooves and a dash of rock, which The Wayward Suns have seamlessly melded into an eclectic, wide screen listening experience. Most of the tracks feature a combination of pop-rock style vocals augmented with the hip-hop proclamations of Kane Fogarty (aka Instinct). Lyrically the band generally preach an upbeat, positive trip, with dashes of pop culture references and ‘state of the world’ inflections. Far from being a bunch of random tracks thrown together, a lot of thought has gone into creating a holistic, album-centric listening experience.

‘Welcome’ is a bouncy, hip-hop/rock crossover, with some tasty ‘rock dog’ style vocals from lead vocalist brad Kennedy (aka Buddha Brad). ‘Bright Lights’ unveils a sneaky riff not dissimilar to that found on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Master Blaster’, then locks into a chilled reggae groove which features some tasty rhythm section interplay and a splash of ethereal, psych-tinged six string work from guitarist Jesse Lopez (aka Jesse-Sun).

The album’s title track is a cruisy, free-flowing acoustic hip-hop gem, while ‘Cloud City’ commences with a sampled sound grab (a neat trick that re-appears a few other times on the record as standalone, sub-minute bridging numbers) before launching into a bouncy, Sublime-like crossover number with a groovily unwinding guitar solo.

‘Shed’ rides the coat tails of a country/roots shuffle with a hoedown style, singalong chorus and the band’s trademark hip-hop verses. With ‘Dream Makers’ the band return to a chilled roots-reggae vibe, and ‘Long Road’, with its whistled intro, is another roots-channelling, hip-hop banger with uplifting lyrics. While ‘All Roads’ eases the pace with its chilled, sun going down vibe.

With ‘Paradigm’, The Wayward Suns have meticulously crafted a free flowing and ambitious listening experience, which is highly deserving of the attention of those with a penchant for the aforementioned musical styles, and is yet another impressive addition to the ranks of world class sounds being concocted right here on the Gold Coast.

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