Pulse shows too much life

by Beacon Staff • February 6, 2008

The Pulse Prophets, according to its press release, calls itself "an original, socially conscious groove machine that knows how to get the party jumpin'." Its mission: "to elevate your mind and shake your behind!" On the group's second album, Breathe, it definitely accomplish's its mission.

With its breezy, reggae beats and island sound, The Pulse Prophets sounds like a band that has made its way across the Gulf of Mexico from Jamaica to the United States. However, these five guys don't hail from a tropical climate, but rather Burlington, Vt. And they're coming to Massachusetts to play at The Draft in Allston to promote their newest album.

Breathe is funky and full of positive ideas dealing with subjects from government power to people's rights. With a hint of Bob Marley and a dash of Jimi Hendrix -two of the band's influences-the tracks provide for an unusual listening experience.

On "Falling To Pieces," the chorus has a trace of Los Lonely Boys' one-hit wonder, "Heaven." The Pulse Prophets combines that sort of up-tempo rhythm with their reggae beat.

Echoing voices and electronic sounds and waves make "Remember" sound like a psychedelic tune-out of the 1960s. Trippy and airy, the song could make anyone believe he is on a mild LSD trip.

From mellow sounds to rock mixed in along with celestial vibrations, The Pulse Prophets create an album for both the music fanatic and the politically aware. And while the band might be harping on ideas normally heard on the news, adding the element of music transforms political preaching into radio-friendly material.

It's really the band's social consciousness that make its music so unique. "On And On" examines the many questions surrounding 9/11. There is no mention of any conspiracy theories, only of the details surrounding the attacks and the lives lost. It also laments the war that came from the event. This song, although serious in subject matter, still has a groove and if the lyrics aren't listened to very carefully, it's easy to lose the message is among the bass line.

With "Come Your Way," lead singer Elijah Kraatz makes an effort to rap, using the phrase "the people have the power" numerous times. A nice, optimistic idea, but the rap falls short after the fourth time it's repeated. The song does leave the album with a positive ending and the idea that the group, according to their lyrics, "can feel the change coming my way" is inspiring, even if it's a bit overused.

The Pulse Prophets has taken on a huge task: to convey national and world issues through music, while making it easy to dance to. And on the whole, the band has achieved that goal. Although sometimes the tempos and beats don't match the mood of the subject matter, there is an apparent effort to inform the listeners of important issues. But are the people of the world ready to elevate their minds and shake their behinds at the same time? Only time will tell.

The Pulse Prophets will be performing at The Draft in Allston, MA on Feb. 7. The 21+ show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets are $6.