Irie Idea / Press

“Distinctly unique music has resulted in an eclectic disc that will undoubtedly thrill fans of the Specials or The Menzingers, but the references should not stop there, for this places Americana, folk, punk, rocksteady, surf, and blues into a musical blender and rather than pouring out a discombobulated mess, Irie Idea create finely crafted anthems of authenticity and charm.”

“The concept of a two-man ska band seems highly unrealistic, but Curtis Irie and Morgan Smith not only deliver a record of tremendous depth and warmth but also one that incorporates a myriad of styles. Granted, they do receive some musical assistance and accompaniment along the way but Irie and Smith are the heart, soul, and brains behind Irie Idea.”

“Nailing down a unique punk-influenced reggae sound, the group maintains their upbeat Rocksteady mentality, which shines with diversity and energy, especially on their latest full-length, Blues Like Sandpaper/Rocksteady Like Dirt. What separates this disc from similar efforts is the way in which this duo instills a refreshing twist to their stylistic approach through crafting together an animated buzz to their exemplified ska and reggae esthetics.”

“The duo’s new album Blues Like Sandpaper | Rocksteady Like Dirt features members of The Delirians, Matamoska and Sammy Kay and maintains an eclectic mix of traditional blues, rocksteady, ska, punk and funk.”

“Comin’ outta Portland by way of Philly, the duo of Curtis Irie and Morgan Smith, a/k/a Irie Idea, take a traditionalist view of blues, ska and rocksteady reggae and juice it with the energy of the punk rock on which they were weaned.”

“What does a band from Portland, OR know about rocksteady? It turns out quite a lot. From the opening track “Soul Vending,” Irie Idea show their ability to play groove-based dub while melding it with elements of punk and ska. Later in the album on tracks like “St. John’s Alley,” the band mixes in hallmarks of blues with a distorted harmonic making the album title Blues Like Sandpaper | Rocksteady Like Dirt seem overwhelmingly appropriate.”

“They’re a two-piece outfit, but Irie Idea manage to fill the sound almost completely. They play tight and they play furiously. It’s an intimate, manic jam session between friends, and we’re standing witness to the beautiful storm.”

“The boys in Irie Idea had developed a solid following in Philadelphia when they packed up an old sedan and moved to Portland in late 2010. But breaking into Portland’s oversaturated scene, persuading club owners to take a chance on a band with no established local following, wasn’t as simple as they expected. “Our whole idea of moving here was just to come here and hit the music scene like a bomb, which we’ve certainly tried to do, but it’s been really difficult,” lead singer Curtis Irie says. That is, until the band found St. Johns. Irie Idea’s fate, recounted in one of the early episodes of St. Johns-based music documentary series “The Instigators,” could be repeated by any number of bands now calling Portland’s farthest outpost home. Residents there call St. Johns the city’s “Moulin Rouge.” Its cheap rent, wealth of venues and deep community support have created an incubator for musicians either new to Portland or just plain new...”

“Infused with a punk ethos layered to the bone, Irie Idea exemplifies tradititonal ska and reggae music while borrowing from all historically important styles of music, namely Rocksteady and Blues.”