free download: the cultured’s roots rock grows deep on ‘spring’ #soundcheck

January 23, 2015

The Cultured are the latest in the recent crop of underground bands who owe nothing to genre. I was turned on to the Boston indie quartet by my good friend and former bandmate Jacob Wakeup, who once professed his goal to be the Don King of the ska scene, so yes, ska and reggae inform some of what they do. But unlike many in that scene who are more than content to retread the lowest common denominator of 3rd wave influences, on their recent full length Spring, The Cultured show themselves to be a roots band with roots far deeper than most.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

From the breezy pop-punk of opener ‘Gemini’, The Cultured show a commitment to songcraft and unconventional hooks. There are shades of classic Boston indie rock on ‘Twelve’ which kills with an infectious guitar riff, and frontman Vincent Rivera’s charming vocal delivery. (I’ve never been much of a Smiths fan, but I feel like Vincent Rivera sounds to me like what Morrissey must sound like to people who are into the Smiths…take that as you will.) The beautiful ballad ‘Revelation’ shows a band as in command of ambiance as they are of alt rock jams. And then the French bossa tune ‘Jolie’ comes out of nowhere, because they can.

That ‘Jolie’ exists on the same album as the anti-establishment ska-punk rager ‘FPPD’ is a testament to The Cultured’s range. The track calls out corporate feudalism and the false divisions sowed by the media to keep us all from uniting and rising up. Though the track was recorded last year, and focuses most of its run time on corporate power, it’s impossible to hear it as anything but an indictment of state violence when Rivera shouts “don’t you know they’re protecting you” with all the irony he can summon. Though the band never quite summon the fire and fury they do on ‘FPPD’ elsewhere, it’s a testament to their commitment to sonic diversity that it’s a highlight rather than an outlier.

The album’s available as a free download through Bandcamp.