Album Reviews

Toni Tee and Liquid Wisdom ‘Luciendo Bien’

All Photos: Amalia Sepulveda

Taking a healthy break from the overpopulated psychedelic-rock scene, Toni Tee and Liquid Wisdom come as a fresh breath of musical delight with their latest EP, Luciendo Bien. The Hacienda-Heights 7-piece collective– Angie Kings (vocals), Bucky Lee (vocals), Joey Tovar (sax), Desteny Martinez (trumpet), Kane Sowa (drums), Vital (bass), and of course led by Toni Tee (vocals/guitar) — curate a well-crafted, melodic collection of sounds that range from the standard second wave of ska, to jazz-inspired reggae. Each member of Liquid Wisdom provides their individualized sound that counters the stereotypical “structure” of artists reviving ska; containing a refinition to their tracks and allowing for modern rock to melt the sounds seamlessly.

Luciendo Bien opens with a harmonic, and dark cinematic 24 seconds with the fitting titled track “From the Soul.” Without hesitation from the intro, the EP is thrown straight into the brass section of “Recession Song.” There’s a stronger “bite” that emerges on this track, battling male and female vocals that coast along the steady rhythm, even more so with the passionate but light vocals of Kings. Whereas “Shut and Kiss Me” unravels to a loving sense of desire centered around the epitome of ska and reggae, and an extremely strong rhythm section.

Experimenting with a slight hip-hop count, Luciendo Bien‘s continued use of chopped pieces allow for a natural pause in-between the brightness of brass, this time on “Sunken Sampler.” 30 seconds isn’t enough of the sample, but does bleed well to the next track “Don’t Sink.” This is one of the stronger stand-out tracks on the EP for it’s creative structure and genre melting sound. “Don’t Sink” takes the best of vocals, emotion, brass, and rhythm, into an up-beat and almost dust-bowl sound. This highlights the versatility of the band and their outside influences that play a role with their rooted reggae sound. ย Almost coming full-circle, a sample emerges yet again in the form of “Uno Muestra,” and simultaneously closes “Don’t Sink” while opening “One Sound.”

7-minutes of symbolic cleverness, hailing to the sample of “From the Soul,” the closing theme of Luciendo Bien is seen as completion of the album’s entirety through “One Sound.” The lengthy cultivation can only be appreciated last; such as the triumph after the struggle. Somber, dreamy, and soulful, “One Sound” is just that, and couldn’t be a more perfected track to end Luciendo Bien. Completing the cycle and personifying each member through a stream of connected consciousness, “One Sound” defines Toni Tee and Liquid Wisdom.

Stream Luciendo Bien on all major platforms and catchy them tonight in Boyle Heights, East Side Luv, for the EP release show at 9 p.m.

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