Album review: "See-I"
“Dangerous,” which opens See-I’s self-titled debut album, lives up to its title: The track uses an ominous dub sound, haunted by ghostly synths and flickering horns, to warn of the hazards of contemporary life. The band’s sibling frontmen, Arthur “Rootz” Steele and Archie “Zeebo” Steele, gallop in like the horsemen of the apocalypse.
The album, however, isn’t quite the downer its darker tracks suggest. Dub reggae is the group’s foundation, and the Steeles do have a penchant for Rasta-style prophesying. But the local nine-piece ensemble, which includes four members of Thievery Corporation’s live band, weaves funk, rap, rock and Latin jazz into its echo- and bass-heavy style. On its livelier songs, See-I drops the doom-slinging and turns into a party band.
There are no disposable tracks on this carefully crafted and impressively consistent album. The most engaging numbers, including “Soul Hit Man” and “Soul Universe,” emulate go-go’s communal spirit, while the exuberant “Homegrown 2011” matches swaggering acid-rock guitar with a series of come-on-down shout-outs: “Northwest, Southwest, Southeast crew!”
The world will end soon, the album seems to counsel, so why not get out on the dance floor?
— Mark Jenkins, July 1, 2011