House Of Shem: Keep Rising
By Rachel Fallon
Originally formed in 2002 from the family unit of Carl Perkins who had been a founding member of both Herbs and 12 Tribes, House of Shem developed into the present seven-piece by 2005. Sons Te Omeka and Isaiah join their dad on writing, vocals and production credits, recording and mastering at Auckland's York Street. The other players include Kaya Webster on drums, Frances Harawira on bass, Roy Venkataraman on guitar and Chris Neilson on trumpet and sax. Their sound is extremely tight with fine, warm vocals bringing their positive, Rastafarian and love inspired messages across with fluidity and confidence. The Wanganui-based reggae band are now signed to Victor Stent's new label Local Music with distribution through Serious About Music. All of the dozen tracks stand up, filled with unpretentious hooks, varied arrangements and superb musicianship. My favourites are the upbeat, inspirational title track and the hopelessly romantic Need To Know. This definitely raises the bar for quality Aotearoan reggae.