‘Music like this lifts the weight off your shoulders and makes it nice to be alive. It’s skankin’ time!’ – Earmilk
Taking influence from the vintage reggae records of the 70s and 80s, The Expanders have been perfecting their signature roots sound for almost ten years, and are set to return on June 15th with their latest album, ‘Hustling Culture’.
The album continues to develop the group’s fresh take on reggae’s classic sounds, with exquisite three-part harmonies and classic roots-based lyrics. ‘Hustling Culture’ marks a return to songwriting for the band, following the Christmas 2012 release of ‘Old Time Something Come Back Again’, an album that featured covers of their all-time favourite reggae cuts and was positively received by Hilly Dilly.
To release the album, The Expanders signed to independent reggae powerhouse, Easy Star – an association which is clearly an honour for the group, who cite Easy Star compilations from the likes of Sugar Minott as key early inspirations. Guitarist and vocalist Devin Morrison says: “no other label in reggae has the reputation for putting out such high quality releases with the deep understanding of the entire genre.”
For The Expanders, having their album released with Easy Star has reaffirmed their own belief in the power of roots. They hope that ‘Hustling Culture’ will introduce new listeners to their own influences in the songwriting of The Ethiopians, roots group The Gladiators, and the harmonies of The Mighty Diamonds.
Having spent a number of years absorbing the records in the collection of famed reggae archivist Roger Steffens, the group’s sound has grabbed the attention of some of the biggest names in reggae. The four-piece have acted as the backing band for the likes of ‘The Godfather of Rocksteady’ Alton Ellis, The Maytones, and three-time Grammy Award nominees, The Wailing Souls.
In doing so, the group have formed an integral part of a burgeoning Los Angeles reggae scene, and having taken so much influence from the classic Easy Star sound in ‘Hustling Culture’, label boss Eric Smith says: “we have no doubt that this release will be an inspiration for generations of musicians to come.”