Known for their unique musical style in fusing multiple genres New Zealand natives Fat Freddy’s Drop’s latest album brings the traditional hybrid of reggae, dub, and funk rhythms that are well-known to fans. That said, Bays feels at times to be pushing toward something the group just don’t seem to want to touch.
The band’s fourth studio album features the latest single Razor, an excellent track that grabs at concepts from previous albums and blends them together with new innovations for the group’s otherwise comfortable sound. On Razor, they use far more synthetic sounds and a swell in the rhythm that will really make you want to move!
Bays has a heavier focus on genre fusion than the group’s previous releases, with a few ska undertones here and there. But the band are missing a certain element in their sound that several of the tracks seem to approach but never quite reach. Standout tracks like Wairunga Blues and Fish In the Sea are bound to be crowd favourites; they’re bright and upbeat and the only other two tracks on the album that feel they offer something new.
The ska-blues element of Fat Freddy’s Drop’s sound are a heavy feature in this release giving Bays a relaxed and fresh feel though with heavy techno rhythm section; the syrupy vocals of singer Joe Dukie are overshadowed by a lot of synths and acoustic instruments causing his lyrics to be at times, indiscernible. Though this release hints at a new direction, Bays is an easy listen and well structured, retaining Fat Freddy’s Drop classic chilled style.