Pepper - "Local Motion" Album Review
Wimbledon is the biggest tennis tournament in the world and it came at a perfect time, during the release of “Local Motion”, Pepper’s new album. Whether listening in the car, on my headphones, or in the house I started to realize this band is like watching a mega tennis match. Let me explain. If you are familiar with Pepper’s music, you will know Bret and Kaleo take turns on vocals for their records. When listening to the new album “Local Motion” it became apparent to me it was like Djokavic and Federer going back and forth with the great Yesod keeping everyone in line like a referee. On one song you will have Kaleo take the reigns singing then the next is Bret and back and forth they go like the most recent Wimbledon final. Sorry for all you non-tennis fans out there, hopefully you get the point. Something incredible to watch, or in this case hear.
Now Pepper's last album “Ohana” was released 3 years ago, and we fans have been salivating for the new tunes for some time now. But let’s not act like the band has not given us material in the meantime. Multiple new artists on their label, Law Records. Such as Kaleo’s Sabotage Soundsystem (which has new singles out), Bret Bollinger & The Bad Habits debuted their “Lo-Fi” album. Pepper has been on the road touring and showcasing at many festival appearances. They also unveiled their new catalog of wine. And, let’s not forget the cannabis strand, “Hawaiian Pepper” that blazes. Yesod also dedicates some time to his podcast called “Disposable Heroes”. It is an understatement in saying that Pepper continues to be one of the hardest working bands in the scene.
Now once I saw the track list for "Local Motion", the bands 8th studio album, I must say I was a little caught off guard. The record was very guest-heavy. The last album I remember with a guest appearance was "Kona Town" with the late great Josh Fischel (RIP). Is this a bad thing? Hell. No. In fact, I loved it!! Similar to their previous album, “Ohana”, this one is only 10 tracks deep, but it packs a punch. With each album Pepper releases, you notice their evolution as artists. "Local Motion" continues that trend and this one certainly gives you that old school Pepper style as well. That Hawaiian-style, grab-you-by-the-balls, reggae rock, punch-you-in-the-gut feeling. The only way Pepper knows how.
The album starts off with the dubby chill vibes of “Warning”. Stick Figure appears and produces the track while Johnny Cosmic engineers. Clearly a track worthy for Song of the Summer. “Neighborhood” is a song that we all know too much about. A tale of a guy making that leap for a girl he is interested in. One thing you will not have to worry about is the track that gives you that sexual feeling. “Sugar (808 Remix)” gives you what you need on “Local Motion” and nails it, (no pun intended), on the production of the song. And if you are needing that pick me up at the end of a shitty yesterday then a good bet to set you straight is “Brand New Day”. Click this good vibes tune on and let the 3 boys from Hawaii turn that frown upside down.
Personal favorite of mine is "Candy". “Look but don’t touch” is the premise. A catchy tune that tests temptation from that certain someone. Other album standouts include “Goddaughter” and “We The People”, both produced by the talented E.N Young—he contributes vocals on “Goddaughter” as well. The track really mixes all the styles of Pepper over the years in a blender and delivers a
beautiful sweet song. Iration’s Micah Brown lends his incredible talent on the final song of the record “My Holiday”. So much is going on in this song that gets you itching to dance. The production value in this track makes for a special one on the album. Everything from horns to a violin (is that what that was?!). Amazing stuff.
Leave it to Pepper to know how to make a record that matches their intensity in their live shows. Most Pepper fans will agree that it’s not just a live show, but it’s a feeling you get when seeing the band perform. You leave knowing Kaleo, Yesod and Bret put every ounce of blood sweat and tears into their performance. Their energy will stick with you for days. Local Motion matches all of that and then some. It is like a thousand suns in a glass jar - it’s shine is bright. Pepper is keeping everyone on notice that the band rooted from Kona, HI, are 20 years deep and just getting started.
Click Here to purchase the new album "Local Motion" on PepperLive.com.