For their second album, See-I, Washington, DC’s most prodigious live band, have built on the sound and success of their debut record to create a work that comes straight from the heart. As leaders of the Reggae-Soul Movement, they continue to expand their scope infusing the new album, Knowledge Shine Bright with elements of Funk, House, Dancehall, Hip-Hop, R&B and Rock. The record is marked by dazzling guest appearances by rappers Mr Lif & Flex Mathews and chanteuses Candice Mills & Edy Blu who bring muscle and soul to this collection of 12 songs. Intimate yet expansive, Knowledge Shine Bright is a 50 minute sonic journey that few contemporary bands have the fortitude to conjure.
Founded by brothers Arthur “Rootz” Steele and Archie “Zeebo” Steele, who have toured and performed for over 15 years as frontmen for the Thievery Corporation live band. See-I is comprised of Rob Myers on guitar, Ashish Vyas on bass, Jeff Franca on drums, Frank Mitchell on saxophone and Salem Steele on keyboards, all of whom live within the 10 x 10 mile square known as Babylon, er... the Nation’s Capital. From humble beginnings in North Carolina, the Steele Brothers got their start singing in the church choir and were soon transfixed by the funk, soul and rock sounds they heard on the radio in the 1970s. Decades of musical depth and experience are the secret weapons they bring to the table, both live and in the studio.
Knowledge Shine Bright opens with “Never Give Up,” a deeply-moving Reggae tune, written while on tour by Rootz and Zeebo memorializing their mother who passed at the time. Although a Reggae groove infuses all of the album there are many notable musical departures. “The Chase” finds Rootz singing over a House beat fused to Afropop guitars, “Rudeboy Razor” melds Rock and Hip Hop, “Musical Murder” slithers from Dancehall to World Beat, ending in a sitar-drenched outro courtesy of Rob Myers (Thievery Corporation’s “Lebanese Blonde”), “Queen of Sheba” and “Revolution” find the band getting in touch with their feminine side with vocalists Edy Blu and Candice Mills burying their sexy and profound lyrics deep into the groove, and on “The Boogieman” the inimitable Mr Lif finds his flow to be the perfect match for the track’s quirky, P-Funk pseudo-political jibber-jabber. And the title track? Well, you’ll just have to hear for yourself how a contemporary band can bring so much old school wisdom and soul to light.