ZIONHILL: Inside Of You
By Ania Glowacz
Outside of Jamaica, it’s safe to say that Aotearoa is reggae’s natural home – and synonymous with summer and generally chiiled out vibes. Personally, I’m not a big fan of ‘feel good-ooo yeah-switch off your brain’-type reggae. I like it political, interesting and ‘conscious’. While you could say reggae bands in this country are a dime a dozen – finding a truly class act that stands out is a little harder. Thankfully Zionhill tick all my boxes. This is a beautifully packaged, self-aware album, replete with lyrics that are actually saying something, without getting all heavy on it. Crying Earth, Footsoldier, Gatekeeper, Freedom, Zionterra (a particular stunner on every level), none of these tracks are just filler or lacking purpose. And the guitar synth adds a really nice dimension. Zionhill are Gavin Dempsey (lead vocals and guitar), Damian Hepi-Te Huia (bass and bvs), Shailah Rudolph (lead guitar and guitar synth), Jesse Bates (drums and percussion), and the very welcome addition of Ardre Foote sharing vocal duties. They’re from Raglan and have been going about four years. This debut album was recorded at The Porch recording studio in Hamilton, with one track Can You Feel It recorded at the Waikato Institute Of Technology. With 12 cuts and three bonus tracks, this one’s a keeper. From its simple but stunning cover, to the crisp clear recording, this is a class album all the way. Rich vocals, great musicianship and songs of substance.