I gotta say, I was a bit disappointed by this record. "Forward March" is the first release the record label Boss Sound Records, and from what I was hearing about it, I had my hopes up pretty high. This collects 18 tracks from new ska/reggae bands worldwide and though there are a few high points, overall the album isn't that great.
First off, I have to point out the cover art. horrible cover art on this record. I saw a couple covers by a different designer and they were much better than what was chosen in the end. But i could have taken a picture of my dogs poo and wrote Forward March and that would have been a better cover than the one chosen. This has to be the worst cover i have ever seen. Also the disc dosent seem to have been mastered because some songs are way lower than others.
Musically the high points are few and far between. Starting with a mean Steady Ups dub mixed by the innovative Dr. Echo, "Dub Disaster" is a version of their tune "Why Why Why" and the excellent use of echo makes the sound almost float. Brilliant dub. Also, The Dynamos play an excellent instrumental cover of their song "Mendacity", here named "Heartbreaker". Excellent keyboard work by Ray Jacildo. Empire All Stars offer some of their famous instrumental skinhead reggae with "Alone Again" with nice paino work and a melodic, melancholy horn line. THe Debonaires also thrill as always with "Tribute to Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso" with the Debonaires signature horn players. Wheres the new album guys? Also, Yellow Umbrella from Germany offrer up some roots rock reggae in the form of "Rise and Fall" that sounds almost like Steel Pulse in their heyday. Thats about it for the good tunes in my opinion.
As far as bad tunes, "Concordance" by Kingston 10 is annoying. The vocals sound way too poppy, almost Dance Hall Crasher like. The Speakeasies come with "Cardiac Arrest which has a nice reggae rhythm but the vocals are horrible and sound like a singer from the 80's and i hate 80s music. I was also real let down by Mot!ves Project because I heard so many good things about them. But they have a sound that I am not a fan of. And the male toaster sounds very 2 toney and 2 tone era toasters arent that good. Other songs I dont like are by the Soul Stingers from Texas, General Rudie from Canada, The Delroys from Ohio (their singer is awful) and the ska jazz band Amusic Skazz Band from Spain.
Most of the songs lack because of them not standing out enough, or lack of a good singer or lack of musical talent. Some songs though, like Full Spectrums horn filled ska tune "Aravah" just dosent hold my attention despite good musicianship.
Its good theres still ska music coming out, but this isnt a very good collection. I'd tell you to check Primo Sonic Rhythms on Riversidal Syndicate before checking this album.
Back to Modern Ska Reviews:
Go Back Home: