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.
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.