Who’s ready for some New York ska? The Big Apple natives, The Pandemics have just released a 5-song EP entitled ‘Hard-Headed.’ According to their bio, the goal of this 8-piece band is” …to spread their infectious brand of NY Ska Punk to the masses until skanking in the streets causes a mass hysteria.” Let’s give ‘Hard-Headed’ a try, shall we?
- “Hard Headed”- The Pandemics get things rollin’ with this ska/big band hybrid. While this is a horn-driven song, there are also a few well appreciated solos as well. Get up off your seat, grab your gal and hit the dance floor. Grade: B+
- “Change Your Mind”- Pick it up, yo! I really resonate with the chorus this song, as the goal of my website is to prove that ska is not dead. There is a strong horn presence is this tune as well, but it is the organ that creates the traditional ska beat. A fun, danceable song is found in “Change Your Mind.” Grade: B+
- “Chains”- The Pandemics change things up by injecting a little punk into the mix. Lead vocalist Chris Malone really belts thing out here, creating a song which reminds me a lot of the Insyderz. Good stuff! A-
- “Stop & Get Frisky”- “Stop & Get Frisky” kicks things up once more, and is the hardest song on the album so far. I really love the blaring brass section with the more subtle saxophone and organ in the back ground. This song has a kind of gritty feel to it, and I love it! Grade: A-
- “Timmy’s Song”- It’s time to slow things down once again for another brassy song that mixes traditional ska with big band. This is not my favorite track, but still enjoyable none the less. Grade: B
I have a love/hate relationship with EPs. I love them because bands usually put their best stuff on them, as there is simply no room for “filler” songs. I hate them because after listening to them in their entirely, I am left begging for more. This is exactly the case with the ‘Hard-Headed’ EP by the Pandemics. In this relatively compact album, the Pandemics have laid down 5 songs of pure ska goodness. The overall sound has a definite east coast swagger as compared to the stereotypical pop/punk style of west coast bands. The horn section is strong in each and every song, This paired with the vocal style of Chris Malone give the band some range, letting them avoid the cookie-cutter approach when crafting sounds. This fact has not gone unnoticed; every song on this album sounds distinctly different. The Pandemics can pull off the brassy style of big-band to edgier punk to even danceable ska. This is a solid bunch of tunes that will be a new favorite of any ska fan. Check out ‘Hard-headed’ and spread the word like a pandemic!
Overall Grade: B+
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