FoOlish—Table For Four

FoOlish - Table For Four

7.5/10

Montreal-based power trio foOlish released their debut album Table For Four in June. As the band describes their sound as “sweet reggae vibes,” I was expecting a classic roots-reggae record in the vein of Burning Spear. The songs on the ten-track album are eclectic, though, and frequently venture into reggae rock fusion, ska, and even punk rock. Reggae purists might be skeptical about anything related to fusion, but what holds the album together is the band’s tight musicianship, improvisational style, and positive message.

FoOlish’s reggae-rock sound is introduced in “Would You Love Me?” It’s a catchy tune opening with the upbeat bass of Miranda Zolla and smooth, soulful vocals of Alex Jurasek-Picoulas, but ending with a screaming guitar solo.

“Kaya,” one of the more roots tracks on Table For Four, has laidback Caribbean vibes, a skanking reggae riddim, and chirping birds. Kaya is also the name of a Bob Marley song and album and, although not a cover, the relaxing sound and conscious lyrics of the FoOlish track remind me of the Jamaican master.

Unlike more dub-wise reggae, studio effects are absent in Table For Four, with birds and other nature sounds replicated live.  Dub effects and spaced-out sampling would have improved the album, but FoOlish’s sound is closer to a live band than King Tubby or Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in the studio…

On “Punk Song,” for example, the tempo picks up to rockin’ punk ska with aggressive vocals, drums, and shouts of “HEY!” over a fast guitar riff. An intricate guitar solo appears in “Better Man,” an almost grunge tune.

“Don’t Be Rude” has a tight and upbeat style that reminds me of The English Beat and The Police, with the driving drums of Paulo Max Riccardo standing out on the track. “Space Munchies” has some of the most dub-inspired grooves and psychedelic breakdowns. I’m a huge dub fan so this is my pick for the top tune on the album.

FoOlish has toured the country recently and played as far away as the Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival. The band also regularly appears in their hometown of Montreal. In his review of their show at Crobar in March, Bucketlist writer Ben Cornel called FoOlish “…undoubtedly one of the hottest bands on the Montreal scene at the moment.”  Emphasizing live instruments and improvisation on Table For Four, FoOlish have claimed their spot among the Montreal’s strong reggae-rock scene. See you on the dance floor next time they play the city!

Written by Rob Coles
*edited by Kate Erickson
**Erratum: This review originally described the recording as containing samples; we have corrected it to reflect the fact that samples are not, in fact, used on the album.

About Rob Coles 95 Articles
Rob started DJing trip hop and drum and bass in the late 90s at various underground watering holes and sub-standard, probably condemned warehouses in Winnipeg’s downtown core. He fondly remembers making weekly pilgrimages to the local record shop to pick up a fresh stack of the latest 12” singles for weekend gigs. As a co-founder of Quadrafunk Radio, Winnipeg’s longest-running electronic radio-show, Rob set out on a mission to find the perfect beat —for the mind and for the feet—be it reggae, dubstep, techno, or any other bass-driven, dub-infused sounds. Rob moved to Montreal in 2009 to study art history, but like so many other ex-pats he found himself mesmerized by the city’s deep music culture, talented performers, and late-night debauchery. You’ll find Rob nodding his head in the sweet-spot of the venue (as close to the sound-guy as possible) when the bass drops.

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