Common Ground

"Cultivate" Review by Benjammin Van Lom


Common Ground



Common ground come bustin’ out of the Florida reggae scene with weapons blazin’ delivering a surprisingly solid debut E.P. titled Cultivate. At first listen, this album sounds like a Supergroup composed of various members of The Movement, The Dirty Heads and Less Than Jake but as the album spins Common Ground slowly pulls you in their own direction delivering a fusion of Reggae, Hip-Hop and Ska that is a force to be reckoned with.

The album starts off melodic and instantly catches your attention with the very first verse on “Live it.” The mechanical guitars transition into solid reggae upstrokes which deliver to a chorus that is chanted by all members

 in the band. This chorus layout tends to be a common occurrence for the rest of the album and I'm still undecided on whether or not it’s beneficial to the song structure. Common Ground does an amazing job of controlling the energy on this album and delivering just when the time is right. “Live it” is a great example of this technique.

The Second track on the album “Open doors” easily show off front man Kockroach’s authentic Dj-ing ability that has a subtle reminder of early Incubus’ S.C.I.E.N.C.E . This track is slightly slower and has more of a chill Reggae vibe than the rest of the album. I really enjoy the bass lines throughout this song; the bass hits hard when it needs to, definitely complimenting this track and really shows off bassist Lancelot’s Flexibility. The trombone is also used throughout to spice up the track but is not over-used causing an unwanted overzealous effect.

Pursuit” uses the same technique that is heard in the first song in that all members of the band chant the chorus. “OHHH” will be heard throughout the track which I feel is the weakest part of this particular song. At first listen it’s catchy but after a few spins the signature “OHHH” starts to get stale. The song heads in an entirely different direction just after the 3:00 minute mark which in my opinion completely saves the songs and makes the “OHH” fully worth suffering through.

Stand Up” starts with an obvious Less than Jake inspired Trombone intro. The lyrics on this song are particularly tight and flow without hesitation. The chorus is by far the catchiest on the album easily making this track my personal favorite.

The final track “Wisteria” is a downright hip hop fiesta and will naturally be respected by fans of The Movement and The Dirty Heads. This is the third track that features the signature “band chant” towards the end of the chorus. Hopefully this is one those things you need to experience live in order to appreciate.

Common Ground’s Cultivate is a well-rounded fusion of Reggae rock and Hip hop ska that would be almost impossible for most bands to achieve. Each track offers something unique and is easily satisfying for every style of listener. The production work is unyielding and does nothing but encourage their musical style.  Overall, Cultivate is a very pleasant surprise and with this as a debut EP I am extremely excited for the future of Common Ground.


The Supervillains, The Movement, The Dirty Heads

Author's Rating











Lasting Value


Final Verdict  85%

By Benjammin Van Lom

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