Incredible, Original Reggae ! "The sound is both fresh and familiar, and these Instigators fully succeed in capturing the forward-moving spirit that the best reggae has always been all about." - Tom Orr @ World Beat Central
Born out of one love spirit and respect for the foundations of reggae- experiencing Instigators music one can hear the echoes of the masters. By using what has become standard roots instrumentation, replete with a three-piece horn section, their music quickly unfolds with a sound that is natural.
Reggae Reviews says:
It's great to see a second album (and the first studio album) from the Portland, Oregon's Instigators finally come out. Those whose whistle was whetted by their 2002 live album should rejoice over Living Gift, while those who may have been apprehensive about a live set now have no excuse not to check out this cracking studio album. About half of Living Gift (7 tracks) consists of songs from Live on KBOO, providing the opportunity to compare the live and recorded versions (generally not much difference -- an indication of either the honed quality of their live performances or the organic nature of their recordings). The Instigators bring infectious, sing-along vocals and a swaying roots music buoyed by a lively horn section. It's the type of hard-to-resist sound that should appeal to both casual listeners (who will eat up the buoyant gems like "Footprints" and "Clean Air,") and hardened reggae aficionados (who should relish "Bright & Sunny Day" and "Star Shine") alike. "Conscious Time," included on the live album as well, continues to be one of the most gorgeous roots jams of recent years, harkening back to the heyday of Steel Pulse. While many of the best cuts on Living Gift were also on KBOO, though, new tunes like "Bright & Sunny Day," the tranquil "Make a Change," and the groovy roots of "Peace & Overstanding" provide ample support, giving us hope for the future of this band. The Instigators are truly "starting something" here.
here's what Tom Orr has to say:
WORLD MUSIC CENTRAL review by Tom Orr contributed 11/22/06
I continually marvel at the far-reaching influence of reggae, particularly how adeptly bands based nowhere near Jamaica, the Caribbean or reggae's spiritual homeland of Africa have picked up on the authentic roots style. The outfit here- hailing from the U.S. Pacific Northwest- don't skimp on or try to water down that reggae sound known the world over. They may not get rich doing it, but they do right by their Jamaican predecessors and listeners who like it real.
1. According to my handy dictionary, to "instigate" is "to goad or urge forward." And as a flourish of horns and a cry of "yes, this is a conscious time!" signal at the start of Living Gift, the latest CD by a band out of Portland called Instigators, there are urgent messages of love, unity, respect and environmental concerns to move towards. The musical expertise with which the band addresses such messages is tight, catchy and heartfelt as chugging reggae tempos bolstered by funky keyboard, horn and guitar accents punctuate understated vocals singing uplifting lyrics. The sound is both fresh and familiar, and these Instigators fully succeed in capturing the forward-moving spirit that the best reggae has always been all about.