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"Kooyeh Soul Cleansing"

Gone are the days when the sounds of righteous reggae only came out of Jamaica. From NSW’s Blue Mountains, nine-piece outfit Kooyeh have pretty much nailed it on their debut recording. They relocated to Melbourne to lay the tracks down in D.I.Y. fashion and the result is about as chilled and charming as you’ll hear anywhere.
Claiming familiar crossover elements – soul, hip hop, dub and electronica – they’ve managed to retain a cohesive reggae vibe overall. In fact, there’s a decent jazz groove evident in places as well and I suspect individual musos have some solid training behind them. It’s a mighty team effort where contributions allow the songs to star. Vocals are shared between four members with the horn section providing an indispensable backdrop. It sounds like they’re having the time of their lives suggesting their upcoming tour will be major fun on both sides of the stage. Reggae opens the album with some hip hop riffing on the title track. Across the collection, funky keys add spice while bass lines and percussion drive the forward motion. Tempo changes, effects and backing vocals are used in the right measure. Arrangements are imaginative and sophisticated – ‘Only One’ a good example. There’s a slower moment or two between the more dancefloor-friendly. The catchy and anthemic ‘No Love’ and ‘Judgement Day’ sit somewhere between. Subject matter covers the usual suspects including relationships, brotherhood and positive change and you can clearly hear the influence of pioneering heroes (Sam Cooke, Jimmy Cliff and even an injection of stadium rock guitar). But Kooyeh have managed to capture something fresh here. An appealing mix of finely honed and laidback, this should guarantee them a massive future. - Chris Lambie

"Kooyeh Soul Cleansing"

Any frequenter of Fitzroy's nightlife will be familiar with Kooyeh, the nine piece soul-reggae-band of smiles belting out ballads or crooning to skanking fans. Though you miss out on the odd choreographed dance move, Kooyeh's first album Soul Cleansing translates the stage presence of members as interwoven as pipes on a 97 Windows screen saver. The album plays breezily start to back. Their sound is a fluid tug-of-war between descending and ascending grooves that back drop tales thematic of love, freedom, and assessment of a modern commercial climate. Out of the 13 tracks, four are standouts while the title track, although it may capture the albums essence, falls off comparatively. My Oh My keeps a steady waxing and waning beat and questions our constant need for communication through media. Nice "delivery's free/Da liver is free" wordplay too. Haven't Found A Lady is a cheeky, uplifting break up song about herbal methods of coping, sang in a Cee Lo Green twang. Woke Up In Babylon might be their most accomplished track. It highlights a moment of clarity in the realising that you might be a cog in a defunct machine and resonates beyond itself. Mountain Top is the Kooyeh anthem. A song about a longing for widespread nature by guys living in the city. Production on the album is of note too as it is remarkably crisp for a band who are apparently used to performing in a home studio "made from 20 mattresses and a walled mish-mash of carpet". Predominantly Reggae, and Dub, Soul Cleansing bypasses the monotony that hinder its parts and comes across as a versatile whole. BY ROBERT BROWN - ROBERT BROWN


Soul Cleansing - Debut Album
Mountain Top - 1st single release
Haven't Found A Lady - 2nd Single Release



Release single Mountain Top from new album Soul Cleansing.
Kooyeh, the newest nine piece on the block, has traversed the Blue Mountains to Melbourne to record and release their debut album Soul Cleansing. First single Mountain Top is out 9 August 2013 and with a national tour announcement coming soon, Kooyeh has the music industry and fans alike ready to Cooee from the mountain-tops and get their reggae sway on.
With a DIY home studio made from 20 mattresses and a walled mishmash of carpet that would make even the most relaxed landlord quake in their boots, Kooyeh have cultivated the kind of share-house work-life comraderie that has produced some of the worlds greatest acts and albums.
Their live together, work together, play together attitude is reflected in their live shows, and audiences benefit from their synergy and their tight sound. Not a band to be easily labelled, their journey through reggae, soul, hip hop, dub and electronica keeps the group – and their growing crowds – on their toes.
With four vocalists, a horn section and a skankalicious riddim section, Kooyeh deliver a high energy show that keeps the dance floor buzzing as the spotlight sweeps between each of the singers, the riffing horn players, funky organ, bluesy guitar, and all the while the driving force of the bass.
Mountain Top is a nod to the band’s inception in the mountainous region of Katoomba NSW, before their mass migration to Melbourne. It was written about freeing yourself of the city for some relax time in their old backyard, about “something to get that shuffle in your feet”.
“Exploding onto Melbourne's live music scene late last year this incredibly talented band of young virtuosos are destined for the world stage and glory... their vibe reigned supreme with their soul enriching musical talents, gorgeous stage presence, impeccable rhythm and ethereal energy.”
(Toorak Times)

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