For those who don't know, Luck is a multi-instrumentalist. Over the course of his career, he's played different instruments for different bands, and he does them all very well. So it's no surprise that, in addition to the vocals, Luck wrote and recorded the guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards (he may have also written the music for the horn section, but I don't believe he performed any of it). The result is a strong and balanced sound that digs right into the heart of reggae and ska; we're even treated to a little bit of two-tone in "Crash & Burn" and "There's A Light."
Much of the album brings to mind some of the more well-known reggae acts throughout the years. However, the songs all have different quirks or characteristics that help differentiate them. Whether it's an echoey effect on the guitar, a synth-heavy chorus, or using a melodica instead a brass instrument, each song has its own personality.
One of the highlights comes in pretty early on the tracklist: "Can't Go At It Alone." I love the tones of the female vocalis in the hook, which sound great layered over Luck's vocals. The second verse is sung by a guest vocalist named Nate Bergman, the lead singer for the band Lionize. Bergman's band mixes hard rock with alternative, but his vocals have that classic reggae sound, like they were made for it. Other highlights include the mid-tempo "Helpless," and the inspirational tracks "There's A Light" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down."
I feel like reggae gets a bad rap sometimes - even from me. It's often described as boring or repetitive. And sure, it can be sometimes, just as any genre of music can, but that's not always the case, especially when you have someone like Ethan Luck involved. Luck is clearly passionate about the genre, having been in many bands over the years, and Let It Burn is an album that he handled with the utmost care while putting everything he could into it. As the title track says, "If there's a fire, let it burn." The target audience for this album may be a bit on the "niche" side, but it's enjoyable if you've got the time to devote to it.- Review date: 10/4/18, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Rebel Waltz Recordings
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