Maybe the pop-rock-reggae crew the Dirty Heads watched Iration climb the charts or Kenny Chesney make a cottage industry out of the beach-life soundtrack, or maybe those "trees" they're smoking in many of the songs here have had a more mellowing effect than usual, but for whatever reason, Cabin by the Sea is seriously chilled. There are still traces of hip-hop, still a ripping guitar solo here and there, but the band that was sometimes mistaken for Sublime is now more likely to be taken as a latter-day Spearhead, and it's a suitable fit. The best example has to be the title track, a sweet, smooth reminiscence about vacations with friends that's perfect for beach bonfire singalongs and vacation photograph slide shows. Speaking of Sublime, their Mach 2 lead singer Rome shows up for the fun and funky "Mongo Push," while the Hasidic reggae superstar Matisyahu continues his secular evolution, delivering a Chris Brown-styled hook on the surprisingly passionate "Dance All Night," that rare jam band song that naturally lends itself to strip clubs. All the easy living and light-hearted grooving makes them an easy target for the snarky types, and when "Hipster" pokes fun at the ironic T-shirt set, it comes off a bit like Dead fans crabbing about Phish heads, but the swipe at Drake-styled rappers inside the cut is cute, and when Del the Funky Homosapien joins in on a weird, grinding bud smokers anthem called "Smoke Rings" it becomes a seriously fat track. While there's little rebel music or roots attitude, Cabin by the Sea is an asset to every beach bag, cooler, stash box, and resort room safe it gets stuffed in, and can help conjure fine memories of these getaways once the temperature drops and that cold reality returns.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries