Big D And The Kids Table

Stroll

Written by: PP on 16/01/2014 22:32:59

So as I mentioned in my review of "Stomp" a couple of weeks ago, it was a part of a double album by Big D And The Kids Table released as two separate discs on the same day, the other one being this one under consideration here, "Stroll". Where "Stomp" was their traditional upbeat ska/punk album with plenty of horn instrumentation and skanking rhythms, "Stroll" is their reggae/stroll/dub disc where the band are exploring what it really means to be a ska musician to a whole other level.

To start out with, it's a slower record given it's stronger focus on reggae and stroll than on ska; in this sense they're closer to our local ska/reggae band Babylove & The Van Dangos than the usual suspects in RX Bandits or Streetlight Manifesto. But that's only during songs that can be classified as strictly reggae/ska, because elsewhere the record takes a distinctly experimental direction. Jazz, nu-metal, hip-hop, dub, even pop are all toyed with to varying degree; female vocals are used plentifully both as backing vocals and lead vocals. The liner notes list three different female vocalists contributing - "Main Squeeze" is one of these songs that wouldn't feel out-of-place at a jazzy dinner club with a few backing singers on the side while a chill band performs on stage. As for the nu-metal oddity? Check out "Young Suckers" as a good example with its crunchy guitars and weird hip-hop/dub style beat.

All of this makes for a darker, far weirder expression than the straightforward and infectiously catchy soundscape of "Stomp". It's an interesting and a totally different take on the ska/reggae genre than what you usually hear, and even more so when you contrast it with the usual Big D sound. But I'm not sure it's better, quite the contrary in fact. When you jerk out the catchy melodies and danceable ska beats, all you have left are strange rhythms, unusual beats, and weirdo songs that vary quality wise between facepalm ("Spit That Champagne Out"), 'this is too odd to sound good' ("Knife"), and 'well this is decent but can I please put on "Stomp" again?' ("Tell Me Why"). Probably a good idea "Stroll" was separated from "Stomp", as literally none of these songs feel like they'd fit on that album. An accomplishment musically, but as is often the case with experimenting with your sound, it leaves one part of the fan base hanging. I'm afraid I find myself in that group.

6

Download: Young Suckers, What I Got, Just An Idea, Tell Me Why
For the fans of: Babylove & The Van Dangos, The Capital Beat, experimental ska
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.06.2013
Strictly Rude Records

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