Jacob Hales, Josh Smith and Will Drake are Akiva. The young members who not too long ago graduated high school show pockets of potential on their album A Day Off. Their music is a bit scattered in terms of genre and styles. There are elements of reggae, pop and rock.
Hales has a good voice but you get the impression time and time again he is trying a little too hard to fit the mold of what a guy singing reggae is supposed to sound like. Some of the benefits of that “voice” are that it's usually perceived as cool to the masses. Hales is at his best when he sounds more natural and just singing. The music happens to sound its best when they experiment and deviate from transitions we have heard a million times before.
The album starts off “Subliminal Messages” which most likely will be the most appealing song to a broad demographic but happened to be one of the least original sounding tracks. Hales sounds like Everlast on this song as the guitar work revolves around basic chord progressions and solid lead guitar.
The band has more success on “Sucker Punch.” Hales vocals sound better on this track and he doesn’t sound like he is trying to be too cool. Inadvertently he sounds more appealing and more heartfelt. The music is inventive and catchy. Right before the two- minute mark it breaks into a part that sounds contemporary and original. They should have held it longer before launching back into the chorus.
“Given Me” has some traditional reggae sounds. Hales sounds good on this song and really belts it out on the chorus. The next track “A Day Off” has very strong aspects and other things that didn't work out as well. I wasn’t too into the reggae style rapping towards the beginning but the song gets into experimental territory that sounds great. The song goes off the rails in a good way. As the album progresses the band has more success with “Who needs TV?” and “Dumb.”
Given that the band probably can’t even legally go into a bar they show some skill. A Day Off is a solid start but I expect their style to become more refined as they continue to evolve as a band.
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