Category: Album Reviews

Album Reviews

Smooth Lee – The Holdup

Soul-tinged Ska that's old school in all the right ways

So it’s not often that I get an unexpected vinyl through the door. I mean, I say that. I regularly get music through the door and I’m like “Oh Right! I forgot I ordered this…”

But in this situation, it was an album I’d never heard of, from a band I’d never heard of. It turns out that Smooth Lee are a ska band from fair Belgium. I asked them why they so foolishly sent their music 500 miles out of their way to the grim wastelands of the North West…

Album Reviews

Call Me Malcolm – Me, Myself and Something Else

"We'll keep on fighting and I'll keep on trying until I don't need breath"

I was immediately a little bit hot and bothered when I heard that Call Me Malcolm were bringing out a new album. They are definitely one of my favourite bands in the scene, not just for their delicious music; nor their madcap sense of fun – above all else, CMM stand out for their acknowledgement of having inadequately calibrated brains. Mental health was the focus in their last album, and its front-and-centre in Me, Myself and Something Else.

Album Reviews

The LarryFish Experiment – Better Late Than Never

The kind of silly your mum always warned you not to be...

When a band calls themselves The LarryFish Experiment, you know they are deadly serious about the artistry of their work. TLFE absolutely deliver on that deadly sincere approach in their album Better Late Than Never. By which I mean its filled, to the brim, with lovely shambolic madness.

The LarryFish Experiment are a Bristol based threepiece, playing what I would probably refer to as “skanking-obsessed pub-punk”. Its rough and ready, no doubt, but its silly and fun.

Album Reviews

Codename Colin – Escape From Everything

Running away from everything, with a soundtrack you can skank to...

I’ll be honest, the first time I heard Codename Colin was when they submitted a track to the terribly-titled Warrington Ska Punk compilation (get yours for just £4 in our store!). But please ignore my ignorance: storming out of Hertfordshire (which, in my defence, is about half the country away from Warrington), Codename Colin are an energetic 6-piece, playing quality ska-punk.

They’ve got a familiar horn heavy sound, immediately bringing to mind some of their current fellows in the UK ska stable, especially rising stars Call Me Malcolm (read our CMM album review here), with vocals leaning a little more heavily in the [Spunge] direction. I definitely haven’t called them Call Me Colin about 5 times. Nope.

Album Reviews

Dude Trips – Through Love & Death

Scottish emo with lots of added misery.

So a couple of months ago, my mate Dean from Side Mission Records was dropping off a Pizza Tramp LP at mine, and he had a cheeky look in his eye. “How do you like the sound of SMR001, then?” My ears perked up, and I asked what they had cooking. He just grinned and said “It’s really really F-ing emo”. I have it now, clenched in my pale clammy hands, that first release from Side Mission Records and I can confirm that Dean was correct: Its really really emo.

Now I’m not talking that new wave of nonsense that called itself emo: this is not Panic at the Disco or My Chemical Romance. I’m talking old school: early Brand New or Jimmy Eat World, stuff like Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbreaker, Dashboard Confessional. Proper plaintive, vocal heavy, tells-a-story emo. And, let me tell you, Dude Trips have given us a bucketload of plaintive here.

Album Reviews

The Fabulous New Sounds Of King Prawn

Although maybe a little bit less fabulous than I was hoping for...

I pretty much missed King Prawn, first time around. I reckon I saw the tail end of their sets a few times in London. I remember thinking “woah, they are a bit too heavy for my tastes”. Looking back, that was blatantly dodgy venue levels, cos I’ve listened to their back catalogue a fair amount recently, and, well, it’s not exactly Pig Destroyer is it? But if you did prefer your ska-punk on the gentler end of the spectrum? That is definitely what you are getting with this album.

In fact, I’m not sure it’s really punk at all, more a ska-reggae-indie-hiphop-punk hybrid. Which is fine: ain’t nothing wrong with being eclectic. There’s a consistent almost “Arabian Nights” theme to the brass parts: songs like “No Harmony” and “Black Beads” would totally work wafting through the cold night of a desert. Some epic synth parts here and there too really add some atmospheric layers.

Album Reviews

“You Know What Mate? This Actually Ain’t Half Bad!”

We got our mate to review our compilation album. He liked it, apparently...

When I heard about the recent Warrington Ska Punk Show, and listened to a few of the acts that had been announced, I was genuinely gutted that I couldn’t attend. Having lost touch with the ‘local music scene’ somewhat over the years, I have to admit that I had never heard of any of the bands. But… a quick listen to Millie Manders & The Shutup, The Siknotes and Broken 3 Ways makes me regret that!

It also reminded me that in a genre heavily dominated by American bands that we have so many great bands in the UK. I mean, there’s at least 20 – all of which feature on the compilation produced by the same monkeys behind the WarringtonSkaPunk.co.uk : “You Know What Mate? This Actually Ain’t Half Bad!”.

Album Reviews

I Was Broken When You Got Here

The mental health of Call Me Malcolm inspired an absolute stonker of an album!

I first saw Call Me Malcolm play last year at the Old Town House. I was immediately impressed by their dedication to spreading awareness of mental health issues, and of course, their rather tight sax heavy ska epicness.

I strolled over the merch table to chat to them, and apologised that I didn’t have enough cash left to buy a CD. Lewis grinned at me, and produced a card reader, cackling savagely as he overruled my sensible budgeting decision. I’m glad he did.