Rebelution ‘In The Moment’ Album Review

In The Moment is Rebelution’s seventh studio album. Recorded remotely in the midst of the pandemic, the new album is deliberate and wide-ranging, infusing the quartet’s soulful, exhilarating brand of modern reggae with addictive pop hooks, alt-rock grit, and hip-hop grooves.

By Michael Watson

Founded in Isla Vista, CA, Rebelution has followed its instincts to remarkable success since the release of their breakout 2007 debut, Courage To Grow. In 2009, the band topped the Billboard Reggae Chart for the first of what would be five consecutive #1 records. In 2014, they boasted the highest-selling reggae release of the year and in 2017, they garnered a GRAMMY nomination for Best Reggae Album.

Relix hailed the group as “a leading voice in their scene,” while Billboard raved that the band “weaves hypnotic threads of alt-rock and pop, retro-funk, blues, dub, [and] even traditional Middle Eastern strains into their bubbling, one-drop reggae groove.” Rebelution’s live performances earned the group sell-out headline shows everywhere from Red Rocks to The Greek Theatre along with festival slots at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, ACL, Glastonbury, and more.

The performances on In The Moment are bold and self-assured, and the production is equally ambitious, drawing on swirling reverb and trippy delay to create an immersive sonic universe that’s both futuristic and vintage all at once. Strip away the intoxicating atmospherics, though, and what remains on In The Moment is a work of profound reflection, a probing, revelatory meditation that balances joy and introspection in equal measure as the band contemplates the meaning of time and how to spend what precious little we have.

“Whenever I started to write, this notion of time kept coming up over and over again in the lyrics,” said frontman Eric Rachmany. “It can feel a little scary how fast everything moves, but you have to just keep reminding yourself to be present and make the most of every moment.”

In the Moment kicks off with “Satisfied,” a hard, head-knocking reggae tune that will surely find Rebelution fans in fine style. “Old School Feeling” is a classic Cali Roots throwback that takes the listener back to the early days of Rebelution. All good vibes and old school feelings. “Heavy As Lead” is a progressive hip hop/reggae fusion tune that features heavy drum beats and lots of vocal stylings from Eric Rachmany.

Tracks like “Initials,” “2020 Vision (feat. Kabaka Pyramid),” “Places Unknown (feat. Keznamdi),” and “All or Nothing (feat. Busy Signal)” find Rebelution venturing into much harder and heavier territory. These are heavy rub-a-dub roots reggae tunes with some very fine guest performances. While tunes like “To Be Younger” and “You and I” have a much softer touch. Different vibes for different folks.

In The Moment, with its release on June 18th, 2021, is a 15-track album that truly has something in store for every listener. From Cali Roots to hip hop to reggae and pop, this is an album that spans many genres, not settling on just one. I am a big fan of Rebelution’s experimentation with harder-edged roots reggae and their commitment to showcasing some of Jamaica’s most talented and prolific artists. In The Moment will certainly become a favorite listen for any and all die-hard Rebelution fans. With this album, they have certainly cut loose from the “Cali Roots” brand by proving they are very capable of performing any brand of music they choose.