Are You Hungry For Some Ska?

Who’s in the mood for some Hobo Chili? The aforementioned band has just released their self-titled debut album! Hobo Chili is a 6-piece forming in 2012. They reside in Boston, MA, so if you are in the area, check them out. For now let’s listen to this album, shall we?
1.) “The Tribadour”-The momentum builds slowly, with classic ska guitar riffs and loud booming percussion. The horn section also makes their presence known as well. A pretty solid start. Grade: B

2.) “Rollin’ Bones”- Hobo Chili kicks up the aggressiveness a tad in “Rollin’ Bones.” Raspy voice: check; power chords; check; blaring horns check. Don’t miss the guitar solo on this tune! Grade: B+

3.) “Payin’ My Dues”- “Payin’ My Dues” is all over the place musically. While I dig the horn section, I have a hard time getting into this one completely. Sorry gents. Grade: B-

4.) “Entertaining Liars”- Hobo Chili tightens the screws up in this one. This is a nicely crafted tune, which breaks into a more reggae vibe toward the end. Grade: B

5.) “Move Your Feet”- It’s definitely time to pick it up! What “Move Your Feet” lacks in number of lyrics it makes up in a big way with its skankability and pure energy. Grade: A-

6.) “Circus Vamp”- I really like the darker feel that “Circus Vamp” provides. This along with pop-punk influences makes this an all- out enjoyable song. Grade: B+

7.) “No Conversation”- I pick up on a slight island vibe in “No Conversations” which quickly changes to a fast-paced ska blowout. The horns are in your face, as they should be. Grade: A-

8.) “All Ages”- Hobo Chili pulls the ol’ bait and switch by constantly switching between punk and upbeat traditional ska. There is even a little psychadelic in here too. This makes for a solid instrumental. Grade: B+

9.) “Firewater”- It’s time to slow things down a bit. The horn section and vocal harmonization gives this song an old timey sort of feel. Grade: B-

10.) “All Through the Night”- Let’s end things with a bang with one the best songs on the entire album. More of the horns and classic ska guitar riffs you love. Grade: A-

Let’s face it; it’s always exciting to review debut albums. The bands are excited to get their work out there after (oftentimes) working for several years honing their craft. I will usually let a few things slide on a band’s first album, like technical issues and craftsmanship of songs. Hey, I’m just glad they put their stuff out, even if it is not perfect. With all of that in mind, let’s focus on Hobo Chili. Technically, the recording of this album sounds really good. None of that “I recorded this in a bathroom” sound is found here. Musically speaking, while there are a few songs that I did not resonate with quite as much as the others (“Firewater” and “Payin’ My Dues) this is a pretty solid album. Hobo Chili does a nice job of blending rasp-filled punk vocals with a more danceable/upbeat ska sound. The songs are crafted nicely, with more radio-friendly tunes found in “Move Your Feet and “All Through the Night.” What stands out most to me is the tight horn section which is present on each song, as well as the often-times pounding of the drums. I also really enjoy the vocal harmonization found on “Firewater” and wish this weapon was used on more songs. Many bands try to bite off more than they can chew by incorporating too many different musical influences. This is not the case with Hobo Chili as they (mostly) stick to the ska sound which will make the purist pleased. So don’t wait, grab yourself a spoon, and have a heapin’ helpin’ of Hobo Chili!

Overall Grade: B

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