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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 4, 2004

Reggae keeps on going around for local bands

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Two local acts — one already popular on the club circuit, the other still searching for recognition — dwell on Island rhythms and reggae tempos in their new albums.

"REARRANGE YOUR POSITIVE" by Ooklah the Moc; Ghetto Circus Records.

Genre: Island rhythms, reggae.

Distinguishing notes: Ooklah the Moc has been one of the vibrant forces of Island rhythms, reggae, rasta and adult contemporary sounds. This CD handsomely exhibits the group's easy-going grooves, from a reggae-fied "Hawaiian Man" to an energetic "Dark Is Gone." There's a lingering, soulful edge to many of the brooding tracks. Members of Moc are Ras Bird LaPierre, Ryan Murakami, John Davis IV, Asher Philippart, Tony Bush, Kali Navales, Gary Nakano, Micky Huihui and Brad Watanabe, who add a vibrancy and sizzle to its lineup of original songs. The Jawaiian-reggae connection lives on "Jah Will Be There" and but if you like your tune-up with a ripple of rock, "Lovers Rock" fills the bill nicely.

The outlook: The real appeal here is to discover your favorite Moc track; this is a valuable resource to support Ooklah the Moc's live club gigs and present and future concerts.

Our take: Moc rocks.

"ALWAYS BE MINE" by Malino; Mistah Records.

Genre: Island rhythms, Jawaiian.

Distinguishing notes: Malino means "smooth" in Hawaiian, and this quintet has a silky sound in the Island rhythm realm. Members are Kapono Cordero, Rodrigo Casio Jr., Vince Saures, Allen Prest Jr. and Zach Lani. Together, the group blend harmonics with hypnotics — adding vocal pleasures to gentle reggae riffs on such tracks as "Never Go Astray," "Ain't No Way," "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin,'" "Sweet Darlin'"and "Second Chance." One standout track: "Moloka'i Moon," a bluesy ballad with lasting impact. You may have encountered this group in numerous opening act slots with some of Hawai'i's established performers.

The outlook: An auspicious CD debut by an eager, earnest band.

Our take: Could emerge as a player on the music scene.

Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com, 525-8067 or fax 525-8055.