“Here we gooooo, take it slow. Calm down your mind and let me know how you all feel…” This is the first line of Cincinnati’s Reggae/Rock band Rockstead’s new album, You’re in Control. And let me tell you, after listening to this new record, I feel damn good! Off the rip, the first track “Rise” brings in the listener with a groovy little guitar riff, and lead singer Jake Burns grabs your attention with his incredibly powerful vocals, eventually sing-song rapping an anthem of choice, the downfall of greed, being lost but being able to find yourself and “Rise” so to speak. Moving into more of a rock song by the end of the track, lead guitarist Jacob Riley straight shreds over the double time drums played by newcomer to the band Nate Unici.
Following the first track, the band takes us to “Distractions,” a stand out song about overcoming pretty much anything you want as long as you can live a life of love, ignoring what society wants us to do and what it stands for. This song has so many styles all in one, going from reggae into rock into almost rage against the machine esque hip hop. The complexity of genre bending in this one is truly amazing. The album jump’s from various other genres as well, such as the singer-songwriter type tracks “I’ll Be Back” and “Morning Time,” which kind of have that sweet “Three Little Birds” Bob Marley vibe. Perfect for dancing with that special someone in your life. But as laid back as some of these songs are, the upbeat and incredibly catchy marijuana legalization track, “Freedom on the Line” is the hit single that everyone needs to listen to. Immediately drawn in by saxophonist JJ Sax’s unforgettable riff, “Freedom” is fun, groovy, and straight up genius. You can’t help but sing along to the lyrics while Jake simply calls out our government, stating, “This healing herb is not a crime...Our freedoms on the line, it’s time for us to rise...Rise up, our freedoms on the line, you claim to be a patriot but still there’s people dying.”
The band's title track “You’re in Control” is a song that is exactly as it sounds. Find your purpose, see life for the beauty it beholds, and remember you are in control of your destiny.
The final track of the album is called “Costa Rica.” This fast paced, upbeat and driving song is just a lot of fun! With background group vocals, pounding drum stops, and a story of leaving the midwest to escape to a more simpler way of living, it’s a great way to cap off the album.
Rockstead is seriously one of the most unique and special bands in the city. With messages of love, strength, and overcoming adversity, it is hard not to love them for what they do and what they stand for. If you are a fan of Rebelution, Slightly Stupid, Sublime (Let’s be honest who isn’t), you will absolutely dig Rockstead. And if you are ever feeling like you are in a rough spot, just remember Jake’s words...
“But I'll bust through that door, and I'll rise up above. Cuz I'm in control and I'm living a life of love.”