Coke? Pepsi? No-Dope Soda!

Dope Soda began playing their blend of infectious ska-infused tunes in 2011 and hail from British Columbia, Canada.  Although this is their third release, this is my first exposure to this band.  I can’t wait to push play on their newest EP, entitled ‘Bring Five Friends.’  Let’s have a listen…

 

  1. “Tailspin”- “Tailspin” will put some much needed pep in your step. You will skank the night away in this highly danceable party tune.  A horn-driven ska number to say the least, there is excellent use of the keys as well.  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Simon the Cat”- What can I say, it’s a song about a cat. While the subject matter is light and silly at times, there is no shortage of musical chops.  With ska at its core, there is some swankiness going on here as well.  Grade: B

 

  1. “Chirpa the Cat”- What’s better than an album with a song about a cat? Two songs about cats! Musically there is a smorgasbord of sound, meeting at the intersection of rock and blues.  Throw in a little Sammy Haggar-esque vocals and you have yourself a turbo-charged horn rocker.  Grade: A-

 

  1. “An Open Letter to the Judge”- This next track has more of a reggae and dixieland feeling, cut in with more upbeat parts. I really dig the gospel-inspired backing vocals.  Big thumbs up!  Grade: A

 

  1. “Open Doors (feat. Kytami)”- While I prefer the vocal stylings of Matt Carter (songs 1,3 and 4) , this song is epic. The horns will blow the doors off of any concert venue and the violin work by Kytami is an exciting addition to the genre.  Awesome!  Grade: A

 

It is a shame that I had not heard of Dope Soda any sooner.  ‘Bring Five Friends’ packs a wallop over the course of only 5 songs.  Many bands in the genre can be pigeon-holed to either the traditional variety or the ska-punk subset.  Dope Soda fills the much needed void  and cranks out music that you can dance to.  While I certainly enjoy ska of all flavors, it is this type of music that gets my spirit (and feet) moving.  Technically speaking, this is an excellent recording with more subtle parts, such as the piano, being heard loud and clear. The horns need no help in this area, as their collective presence is heard on every song.  In addition, each tune sounds distinctively different from the one before, incorporating several musical styles.  Finally, I feel that the guest work by Kytami is pure genius.  Using guest artists is becoming more common within ska, however, picking a master of their craft, with an instrument not typically associated with the genre, is brilliant.  If you could not tell already, I highly recommend this album. Go check it out.

 

Overall Grade: A-

 

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