Three years after the release of their 'Brother Jones' EP, Lyon based band The High Reeds return with 'Stand Firm', for which they joined forces with fellow townsman and the French answer to Lee 'Scratch' Perry, dub wizard Pilah. The High Reeds describe their mix of roots reggae, soul, dub and jazz as "blue reggae", but on 'Stand Firm' we mainly heard rock solid roots. The album opens with title track 'Stand Firm', an anti-capitalist statement in which front man Christophe Rigaud outlines the story of a man who, from one moment to the next, loses everything and becomes homeless. 'Right Or Wrong' is an indictment of the pseudo-democracy in which we live and the daily lies and half-truths we're presented with by devious politicians with secret agendas. It's also those two tracks that Tom Joseph's eye-catching cover design clearly refers to. The illustration features three crowned idols being pulled by a blindfolded mass. The three images symbolize the political-economic elite, worshipped and blindly followed by a people that doesn't seem to want to know any better and swallows their daily propaganda and deception as gospel, until one courageous individual finds the strength to take off his blindfold, is confronted with actual reality and revolts against the injustice done to him and everyone else around him. The proverbial spark that ignites the fire, as a number of blindfolded figures already turn their heads and behind the three idols you can see the Tower of Babel, symbol of "the Babylonian system", collapsing. A lot more soulful is 'Stronger Than Lies', an ode to the hard work the band has done the last couple of years and the power the different members of The High Re already draw from their music on a daily basis, and in 'All We Need' we clearly heard the influence of Groundation. Climate change, symbolized by ever increasing deforestation, also gets a place on 'Stand Firm' in the form of 'Black Tree', but our personal favorite from the track list is 'Under The Storm', in which The High Reeds lament the fate of the boat refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean (the album conclude (the album concludes  a great dub version by Pilah of this same song). Solid French roots release!