SoCal reggae-rock outfit Fortunate Youth release their fifth full-length LP, Good Times (Roll On), via Controlled Substance Sound Labs.
Commenting on the album, bassist, guitarist, and keyboardist Corey Draskovich shares, “Embracing the new, and reflecting on the old. Every album we make is a new process, we learn from each experience and try to incorporate those lessons into our new music. If there’s one thing that we hope people take away from the album is, enjoy the moment and memories last a lifetime.”
Jared Draskovich (keys/bass) adds, “We are all living through this global event, and to me, we chose the title to help ensure that Good Times are indeed going to roll on regardless of all the hardships that our recent environment has provided for everyone.”
Simultaneously retrospective and progressive, Good Times mirrors hints of Fortunate Youth’s early sound melded with modern savors of blues, rock, soul, world, ska, and punk. The album also reveals the impact of the pandemic, giving the band time to infuse their sound with tasty, complex brass accents, utilizing the gifts of John, Art, Bryan, and Geoff, as well as bringing in Nathan Feinstein, Gonzo, Mellow Mood, Skillinjah, and Dread Kennedy.
For example, talking about “Riddim Rydah,” Corey says, “Dread Kennedy and Skillinjah were hanging out and we randomly just did a live dubplate/toasting version of the song and these guys absolutely killed it.”
Since getting together in 2009, Fortunate Youth has crowned Billboard’s Reggae Album chart, as well as iTunes’ Reggae charts, amassing millions of streams. They’ve shared the stage with Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure, and SOJA, and crisscrossed the U.S. twenty-seven times.
Fortunate Youth is made up of Dan Kelly (vocals), Travis “Travi Bongo” Walpole (percussion), Jered Draskovich (keys/bass), Greg Gelb (bass, guitar), Corey Draskovich (bass, guitar, keys), and Revelation Kalauli (drums).
Encompassing a dozen tracks, from a subjective viewpoint, entry points on the album include “Too Big,” rolling out on contagious percussion fused with a cavernous bassline. Brass coloration gives the tune bright inflections, followed by a dazzling guitar solo.
“Around the World,” featuring Mellow Mood, features rich rasping vocals backed by luscious brass and a sensuously braying saxophone. While “Burning With You” pushes out low-slung, creamy layers of reggae, smooth and undulating with seductive tones.
The title track rides a delicious mid-tempo one drop beat topped by Dan Kelly’s deluxe, bewitching scratchy voice, rife with plush emotions. A stellar saxophone solo infuses the tune with polished timbres. “Riddim Rydah,” feat. Skillinjah and Dread Kennedy travels on a teeter-tottering rhythm colored by psychedelic whooshes.
The final track, “The Cure,” swells and rolls on harmonic waves like velvet, swaying with scrumptious quixotic warmth.
Good Times (Roll On) delivers grand flavors of reggae, ranging from soft and luxurious to potent thrumming tones–an impressive album.