Everything is Copacetic

Skankin’ in Providence RI is the one and only Copacetics. Their 8-piece ska army has been around since 2010 and is about to release their self-titled debut album. I am eagerly pressing the ‘play button’ on this one…

1. “Blood from a Stone”-“Blood from a Stone” starts out with a horn-heavy blast and switches effortlessly between piano and organ. There is also equal time given to the amazing solos done by the saxophone and the trombone. Let’s not forget the backing vocals either. This album starts out with a bang! Grade: A

2. “By the Hand”-The pace slows a bit with this next number, but the Copacetics pull this off as well. If there were any ballads in the ska world, this would be it. Like the last song, “By the Hand” features some excellent instrumentals near the end of the song. Grade: A

3. “Conquest of Cool”- While I would never listen to entire album of instrumentals, they are nice to have to break things up a bit. A nice showcasing of the horn section, and danceable beat, set this instrumental apart from others in the genre. Nice work! Grade: A-

4. “Dubutation”-While I’m not normally a huge fan of the dub style of ska/reggae, I dug this song. The Copacetics created a song that is both haunting and space-like at the same time. While there aren’t many lyrics, there is a lot going on here. Grade: B+

5. “Howl at the Moon”- The Copacetics change gears once more with this classic neo swing song. While the piano keeps the beat, the backing vocals add to the overall flavor of this great song. Grade: A-

6. “Pickles Dub”-Another song done in the classic dub style. I would have been ok with just one dub on this album, but this song is alright. Grade: B

7. “Reputation”-This one starts out with a ‘tango’ sort of feel and then paces forward with a classic beat. The vocals in this number are less raspy than other songs on this album. In fact, they have a smooth quality that melds with the instrumentals. This song is amazing! Grade: A

8. “Same Mistakes”-Ahh, the raspiness comes back in this classic ska song. While this certainly doesn’t stand out amongst the other great songs on this disc, it is not slouch either. Grade: A-

9. “Summer’s Coming”-This is another “smooth-as-butter-vocals” with a “let’s drive to the beach” sort of the feel. While the subject matter might be a little light-hearted, the same cannot be said about the musical qualities of the song. Grade: A

10. “Time Hard”-This is a song that everyone can relate to. So grab a beer, wallow it your self-pity about your job for just a second, and then hit the dance floor. Grade: A-

11. “Versions Coming”-While the “Jamaican sounding guest vocalist” has been overdone in the genre, it just fits here. Nice job Riki. Grade: B+

12. “When the Sun Goes Down”- With its Jimmy Buffet meets King Django sound, , this feels like it should have been the last song on the album. Although a relaxing groove of sorts, it is an excellent song none the less. Grade: A-

13. “Why”-With its cool organ sound and vocals, this song is hot. Nice way to finish things off Grade: A

Only a few months into the 2015, and the Copacetics have hit a home run with their debut album. As a whole, the album is recorded/mixed well and has that professional sound of a band that has been at this a very long time. What really impresses me the most about this album is the variety of styles represented, between traditional ska, dub and even swing. This is a feat that some more experienced bands cannot pull off. As mentioned earlier, I probably could not sit through (or skank through) an entire album of dub or instrumental songs, but this added to the ever-changing feel of the album, and is its greatest strength. The instrumentals are top-notch both when playing together and during the solos. I really appreciate the fact that almost every instrument between the organ, guitar and horns has their own solo some point along the way. While the raspy vocals certainly are not grating or annoying, I feel that the lead singer is at his best during some of the more mellow numbers such a “Reputation” and “Summer’s Coming.” None the less this is a great album that I want to listen to again and again. Although this is their first release, The Copacetics are head and shoulders above many bands in the scene today. I know it’s way too early to say, but this will be a definite contender for best ska album of 2015. Overall Grade: A-

So what did you think? Share it my friend!

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