By Russell Zazueta
Reggae hard rockers 311 blast into spring with their 11th album release “Stereolithic,” and it evokes happiness in music heads and blows away cloudy days.
The band released their album during their biennial “311 Day” festival. They treated fans to new songs, including their new single “Five of Everything.”
Each of the 15 tracks are jam-packed with gripping hooks and electrifying choruses.
“Ebb and Flow” opens with a catchy melody packed with head-bobbing energy.
It feels like something out of their 1999 album “Soundsystem.”
Lead singer and guitarist of the band Nick Hexum combines his colorful vocals with rap-rocker Doug “SA” Martinez’s rap lines in efforts to energize “Five of Everything.”
It is a music soup of hard rock, alternative and rap.
“Showdown” is a fast-paced, ending on the drones of a tune fork, while “Revelation of the Year” cruises through slowly with swaying reggae grooves and a blues attitude.
The tones and vocals produced in “Sand Dollars” are refreshing and make it worth keeping on repeat.
The curiosity to listen lingers on. All the songs are seamless from one to the next, avoiding the disaster of a non-sequitur track sequence.
The lyrics on this album appear to focus more on Hexum’s personal life — lamenting heartbreaks and blind faith — which many people can relate to.
Jazz fusion makes its way into “Make it Rough.” It is one of those songs expected to find at a crumby, busy bar smelling of marijuana, filled with people of one consciousness.
“The Great Divide” is another rap rock tune for those interested in hearing “SA” take over the mic.
“Friday Afternoon” is a breath of fresh air. A soothing bass captures the essence of a dream world supported by Hexum’s ethereal vocals.
The dream is suddenly chased away near the end when guitars cut thr
ough for a metal episode.
Psychedelic guitars run free over Aaron “P-Nut” Wills’ funk bass on “Simple True,” an explosive tune with unforgettable grooves.
The grooves rage louder with drummer, rounding the meat and potatoes of the band since 1988.
While listening to the album, pick up the artwork and gaze at the surreal images to enhance the experience.
There are plenty of bizarre manifestations spread all over the album cover alone —eclipsed suns by a universe planet, and dusky blue, cloudy skies over a moon.
Although their new album lacks the charisma of breakthrough albums “311” and “Transistor,” — albums that blared during college kegger parties in the mid ‘90s — Stereolithic is without a doubt unique and worth the listen.
It still contains plenty of their signature guitar-choppy choruses, funky-chunk bass lines and dream-like vocal melodies to please any fan.
It invites new listeners to journey into a new brand of experimental music never done by 311.
The album was released by their label 311 Records and is the band’s first independent release since the 1991 album “Unity.”