Articles for the Month of July 2014

Heartbreaks and Shadows

The long-awaited album “Heartbreaks and Shadows” has recently hit the shelves (or iPod) from ska veterans Deals Gone Bad.  While DGB has been a band for quite some time, this is only the second album featuring Todd Hembrook on the mic.  It has been a long 7 year wait since the bands last album, “The Ramblers”.  “The Ramblers” is an amazing album; let’s see how “Heartbreaks and Shadows” stacks up:

  1.  Shine-This number starts about with an up-tempo horn part and a lively keyboard.  This song is dripping with soul.  Try not tapping your toe to this one!  Grade: A
  2. The Fool- Again, punchy horns start out this next song.  You won’t be content with just tapping your foot to this song, you will want to get up off your feet and start dancing.  The horn part kind of reminds me of an 80’s game show theme song.  Great tune!  Grade: A
  3. Tell Me What You Know (About Love) – Alright kids, it’s time to slow things down a bit.  While this is not as strong a song as the previous two, it’s still a pretty great little number.  Not much else to say about this one.  I still bet it’s amazing live.  Grade: B+
  4. Just Won’t Do- Great ska beat on this one.  The organ part really keeps this song chugging along. Are you skanking yet?  Grade: A-
  5. Far From Home- This is probably the best song on the whole disc.  Sometimes mellow, sometimes rockin’, this tune is sure to please.  Todd really belts it out on this one!  Grade: A
  6. Train- A slow groove that puts you in a relaxed mood.  I think I could imagine myself listening to this song, while actually riding a train.  Grade: A-
  7. Weigh Me Down- Todd’s voice really carries this song along with the groovy keyboard part.  This fits right along with the remainder of the album.  Solid tune!  Grade: B+
  8. California and 26th– Another slower song, with an almost hypnotic beat.  The organs, horns, vocals-all great!  Grade: A
  9. Sweet Morning- This song definitely has a vintage feel.  I reminds me a little of the early rock and roll songs from the 1950’s.  I love this song!  Grade: A
  10. Tell Yuh- After slowing things down over the past couple of songs, Todd picks things up a bit, with some stronger vocals.  This is another great dancing song.  While this song is fantastic recorded, I imagine it does not hold a candle to the live version.  Grade: A
  11. Perfect Combination- This song might not be distinguishable from some of the other songs on this album, it is a great organ-driven tune.  Grade: A
  12. All Right- Am I on a riverboat cruise? A jazzy little number.  Nuff said!  Grade: A
  13. Get Back- Of any other song thus far on the CD, this one sounds the most unique.  It starts out with a tribal drum feel, but then picks up to a faster pace around the 1:30 mark.  A traditional ska beat rounds out the remainder of the song.  Grade: A
  14. Walkaway- Why do most bands chose to have a slower song to end out the disc?  Usually this annoys me, but Todd pulls this off nicely.  I really like the keyboard solo at the 1:30 mark.  There is also an echo laden part around 3:00 that is pretty cool as well.  Grade: A

Overall:  Obvious from the per song grades, this is an awesome album which was well worth the wait.  Everything about this disc is great: the songwriting, the horns, the organ and Todd’s voice.  Hell, Todd could release a country album and I would buy it.  So go out and grab a copy of “Heartbreaks and Shadows.”  You won’t regret getting this easy shoe-in for best ska album of 2014.  Grade: A

So what did you think? Share it my friend!

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