Well, I’m not really sure how I discovered Drop Steady. Besides hailing from Chicago, I don’t really know anything else about them. I do know that they have recently (October) released a new LP entitled ‘The Light.’ Let’s check it out…
- “The Bandit”-This short but powerful song is the perfect opening tract. At only 1:30 in length, this up-tempo number really gets things cooking! Grade: A
- “See”- “See” picks up where “The Bandit” left off. It too has a faster tempo then some of the other traditional fare out there. Complete with punchy horns and smooth vocals, this song is a winner. I really dig the backing vocals which add subtle depth to the vocals. I love it! Grade: A
- “When You Come Around”- The next song slows things down a bit with more of a reggae feel that the previous songs. The horns here play more of a supporting role to the real star of the show, the backing vocals. The organ also is very subtle but a key element. Gold! Grade: A
- “Lover in My Mind”- There is a stark contrast between the sweeter reggae undertones and the grittier, guitar parts. Don’t miss the saxophone solo at the 2:00 mark. Grade: A
- “Interlude 1”-Rockappela or Gregorian chanting? You decide.
- “The Light”- A “smooth-as-butter” reggae number with prominent horns and organ. The lead vocalist really belts things out at one point. This is another winner. Grade: A
- “Tell Me Why”- Get off your seat! With excellent guitar work, this optimistic tune will make your day better. I promise. Grade: A-
- “Calm Before the Storm”-Let’s head back to ska territory. Drop Steady changes things up with the pairing of 2 lead vocalists. Grade: A-
- “Good News”- I’m not a huge fan of acoustic numbers, so I was a bit relieved when the rest of the band kicked in. “Good News” is a slower groove with much of the good stuff found on the previous songs. Grade: B+
- “Souls Alive”- Starting out with a nice little trumpet solo, this is another traditional ska number with great harmonies. Grade: A-
- “Interlude 2”- Hey it’s another interlude!
- “You Got Me”- With the low-roaring organ, this is a rather stripped down song as compared to the others. The horn section is there to accent, but not to overpower in this soulful little number. Grade: A
- “Step Closer”- Put on your board shorts and your flip flops and get ready for this classic beach-cruising song. Sweet grooves. Grade: A-
- “Run and Come”- Not much new here, which is a good thing! Drop Steady brings more of the sweet reggae sound. I really dig how they borrow lyrics from a few older songs. Grade: A-
- “My Way Home”- The beat has a Hawaiian island feel, while the horn lines remind me of a few songs that came out of the 1970’s. The longer the song goes on, the more I dig it! Grade: A-
As legend would have it, ska eventually blossomed into the much more popular genre know as reggae. Considered to be 1st cousins in the music world there are still enough differences between them to make them stand strong on their own. Never has there been a band that more beautifully melds the two than Drop Steady in their latest offering. They certainly dish out a heapin’ helping of tunes with a whopping 15 tracks, giving the listener hours of enjoyment. Each song is a definite winner, making it difficult for this listener to pick a definitive favorite. Because of reaching this near perfection mark with each and every song, the only weakness that this album may possess is that there are very few standouts, as each song is fantastic in its own right. This lends itself to each song sounding somewhat similar after a while. This is being nit-picky to say the least as this album is certainly amazing. I could really tell the care and craftsmanship that went into each tract with all the moving parts working together as one well-oiled musical machine. I really love the organ driven nature to many of the songs as well as the horns that do a fine job at both leading and accenting the rest of the tunes. On the vocal side of things, this is one of the strongest leads I have heard, and is pure joy on the ears. The vocals are so smooth and soulful, yet have the range to pull off any musical style you throw at them. Overall, I cannot say enough good things about ‘The Light’ from Drop Steady and it’s near perfect package of songs. If you have not listened to it yet, you, my friend are missing out on one of the best albums of 2015.
Overall Grade: A/A-
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