July 8, 2019 311 – Voyager (Album Review)
Champions of a well-blended Alternative Rock/Hip Hop/Reggae/Funk sound, 311 are slated to drop their newest studio album, Voyager, on Friday, July 12, 2019 via BMG Music. As 311’s thirteenth studio album,Voyager arrives as the follow-up to 311’s chart-topping LP, Mosaic, released in June of 2017.
Perhaps the uncrowned kings of the Rap-Rock meets Reggae styling, 311 have spent the better part of the last 25-plus-years perfecting their irresistible beats, riffs, rhymes, and flavor that has made the band a multi-platinum selling juggernaut. In the U.S. alone, 311 have sold well over nine million albums ever since their third album, 1995’s 311, gave the band worldwide exposure.
With a slew of hit singles, not one Rock fan who grew up in the late 1990s and early 2000s could ever forget some of 311’s biggest hits like “Down,” “All Mixed Up,” “Amber,” or their cover of The Cure’s smash hit “Love Song.” Not only this, but 311 have relentlessly toured nearly every summer bringing their invigorating stage show to lucky cities all over the U.S. That being said, Summer 2019 is no exception as 311 recently hit the road, beginning their latest jaunt on Tuesday, July 2nd in Huber Heights, Ohio.
Putting the axe to the grindstone, 311 never slow down when it comes to creating new music and getting it out to their loyal fan base. Packed with a ton of new material, Voyager is made up of thirteen brand new tracks showing 311 on top of their game. On hand for the production of Voyager, John Feldmann, frontman for Los Angeles, California Punk Rock band Goldfinger, lent his skills as a veteran, Grammy-nominated Producer on four tracks. Also in the mix, longtime 311 collaborator, Engineer Scotch Ralston lent his expertise to nine tracks, having previously produced 1997’s Transistor, 1999’s Soundsystem, and 2014’s Stereolithic. Keeping a good thing going, Voyager is actually 311’s second straight album to see both Feldmann and Ralston work production. The pair also worked on 311’s previous album, Mosaic, and that album went on to debut on the Billboard 200 at No. 6, giving 311 their tenth straight Top Ten LP.
Tagging along with 311, let us join Nick Hexum (Vocals/Guitar), Doug “SA” Martinez (Vocals/Turntables), Aaron “P-Nut” Wills (Bass), Tim Mahoney (Lead Guitar), Chad Sexton (Drums) as their guest Voyager to check out this highly anticipated new album. As we drop the needle, Voyager gets off to a fine start via the sweet, Rock-n-Reggae feel of “Crossfire.” Reaching out, the chill ballad known as “Don’t You Worry” is a good friend providing reassurance that everything will work out in the end. Keeping the deep vibe, “Stainless” features choppy guitar riffs growing heavier over an underlying message saying what you want is worth the scars.
Delivering a mellowed out beach vibe similar to “Love Song,” the cut “Space And Time” reminds us to take time for ourselves. In what should be a fan favorite, “Good Feeling” sees 311’s signature M.O. come through beautifully as a perfect kick off for the season of outdoor bars. In a unique twist for 311, a song like “Dodging Raindrops” gives the notion of what it would sound like if Jack Johnson added Reggae to his clever acoustic sound. Later, the pop’n rhythms of “Born to Live” begin with a funky bass intro by “P-Nut” Wills while Voyager closes with the luminous flow of “Lucid Dreams.”
Never at a lack for creativity, 311 ‘s Voyager is yet another impressive release by a band who continues to stay young and flourish more than two decades into their own voyage. That being said, with Voyager, 311’s creatures will have a fresh and exhilarating new album to Rock out to while enjoying their summer. Furthermore, and even more importantly, Voyager takes on a number of deep and positive messages to encourage the spirit and mind. A solid collection, Cryptic Rock gives Voyager 4 out of 5 stars.