Bro, you like ska? You want a little punk on the side? How about a couple of tasty guitar jams for good measure? Ok, now how about all of that, but applied to a Lionel Richie cover? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. More accurately, Toronto natives Slamboni have you covered with their new latest release 150.
I’ll talk about the rest of the record in a second, but seriously, the cover of Lionel Richie’s “Stuck on You” is so awesome. It took me a couple of listens to even realize it was a cover at all. Richie’s vocal melody and chord progression are kept mostly intact, but everything is sped up to a hundred with a decidedly more distorted guitar hook. It joins Reel Big Fish’s cover of “Take On Me” as a reason why ska bands should continue to save cheesy 80s songs from themselves.
As for the originals, this is a perfect example of a band successfully building on its own story. It opens with a reimagining of a track from their previous record. “Welcome to the Show (Reprise)” shares a melody with its predecessor, but it gets slowed down considerably and made entirely instrumental. A couple of other tracks will be familiar to long time listeners of Slamboni as well. The song “Nice Furniture” has now made an appearance on all three of their records in slightly different forms. It’s like their C3P0. Like the rest of the record, it’s a quick and catchy number driven by stellar performances from each member. Scott Hazelton leads this collection with the smokey rasp necessary for this type of music. Timothy Maxfield, lead guitarist David Chadwick and Joseph Krief provide a deadly rhythm combination, with the latter providing bass lines that slither through the record like a fat-bottomed snake.
The album also sells itself as the band’s 150th birthday card to Canada, which is odd considering their self-proclaimed dedication to the SoCal sound, which obviously began as an American export. Oh well, happy birthday Canada and hey, let’s all dream of the beach together while we’re at it.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Kate Erickson