I have a confession to make. I’m not much of a reggae fan. So I hope you’ll forgive me for not looking forward to listening to Water Creatures when I first got it.
Admittedly, I’m not what you’d call a connoisseur. My knowledge of the genre consists mainly of Bob Marley hits. That surely must have influenced my impression of reggae as a style that is pretty limited in atmosphere and scope.
I wouldn’t say that Water Creatures has made me a convert. But it’s certainly shattered a lot of my misconceptions and opened my eyes. Having said that, I wouldn’t call Keez’s music reggae and, honestly, I feel that tagging what he’s managed to accomplish here in such a limited way would be a disservice.
There are certainly reggae influences thrown into the mix. Wake Up Calm is straight up reggae as I know it. But as the familiarity of Wake Up Calm dies down, the album veers off in wildly different directions, seemingly all at once. Paradise does eventually dial things back down to reggae, but again, it’s definitely not a traditional take on the genre. Seeing as Paradise is the 9th track on the album, the reggae feels more of a bookend to a journey of musical exploration, rather than the end in itself.
Known to his mother as Brad Jones, Keez hails from Oregon. He made his bones creating soundtracks for movie trailers and touring with Rap giants the Kottonmouth Kings before locking himself up in the studio to craft Water Creatures.
From the tranced up R&B vibes of Killed4Profit to the Wild Cherry-esque funk of The Game, the thumping bass drum of Whiskey and the completely left-field, piano-driven Mr. Stallenbrown, this album is probably one of the most stylistically diverse things I’ve ever heard. But where it should feel disjointed, it feels smooth and effortless – an intentional exploration, rather than a lack of vision.
Yes, Keez has pulled off one impressive feat. Even if you’re just a casual music listener, you need to check this out.