Reggae, dancehall, ska, all of the sounds you know, and which were always tinged throughout Rancid, are here. With the Aggrolites (L.A. reggae) as his backing band, Armstrong nails it.
Oh boy, I love this.
Mr. Armstrong, of course, is notable for many things. He’s a busy guy. And contrary to rumour, he is not, in fact, related to Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. But his lineage, musically, is really quite impeccable and wonderful. Operation Ivy (love it). Rancid (love it). Transplants (love what I’ve heard of it). Hellcat Records (love lots that they release). He was on the latest (Grammy-winning) Jimmy Cliff record (I want it so I can love it). And so on.
So am I writing an unbiased review here? Haha probably not. Do you care? Haha probably not.
Anyone who’s read this far, thanks for that. And if you’ve heard anything this guy’s done, you know the way he sings isn’t for everyone (but that’s its charm). And you know that even when he was as deep as he went into punk, he was never far from the ska and reggae. So this record comes as a surprise to no one at all. In fact, it is a welcome blast of sunshine in the usual sea of soulless-popular-radio shit out there.
This is summer music, through and through. A perfect surfing soundtrack. Feel good ska grooves, big fat ass bass lines and horns and reggae sensibilities. If you don’t, at minimum, tap your toes to this slice of beauty, get yourself checked for a pulse immediately. It’d be easy to dismiss this as pleasant background music for a pool party, but to my ear there’s something urgent in it that demands deserved, closer attention every time. I’ve been spinning this a lot lately and it’s getting into my blood. I like it.
Highly, highly recommended.
PS: I rescued my copy of this album in a bibles-for-missions type thrift store for $1. Honestly, I thought they’d mis-priced it. The CD was there, and in great shape. The packaging had space for a DVD, but it was missing in this copy. From what I could glean off the interwubs, the DVD contains grainy black and white videos. Essential? Not for me, when all I really want is the CD. If I were to find a cheap copy with both discs, sure, I’d go for it. But I have the CD and that’s all I need.