New Tunes from the Evokatones!

Do you know what is happening in September? The Evokatones are releasing their new self-titled album, that’s what! The Evokatones call Baltimore their home and have been bringing their brand of ska to the people since 2011. Let’s check out their sophmore release…
1. “To the Grave”-Cue the percussion and blaring percussion! Pleasant female vocals and Latin flavor start this album off on the right foot. Grade: A-

2. “Never Letting Go”- Lead vocalist Colleen Curran shares the mic with her male cohort in this slower skank-worthy number. I really dig the surf guitar solo at the halfway mark. Grade: B+

3. “Rudie”- While the term “Rudie” has obvious roots in ska and reggae culture, this song also brings in some musical influences from the easy listening tunes from the ‘70s. This song has definitely grown on me, with its chilled vibe and faux Jamaican vocals. Good stuff. Grade: B+

4. “On Your Way”- Get off your seat! This is the most straight-up ska number thus far on the album. “On Your Way” will turn any ska non-believer into an instant fan. Grade: A

5. “Back to the Living”- This horn-heavy number with classic ska guitar riffs will keep you skankin’ all night. Pleasant vocals and just a fun song overall. Grade: A-

6. “Roller Coaster”- Collen shares the singing duty once more. What a great example of ska mixed with soul. Grade: A-

7. “Against Me”- The Evokatones take a snarky turn in “Against Me.” The vocals here are amazingly edgy which pairs nicely with the brass and rockin’ guitar solo. Grade: A

8. “Conscious Beat”- “Conscious Beat” tends to be a bit repetitious at times, but the smooth vocals cannot be denied. Near the end of the song there is also great use of guitar and horn solos as well. A solid tune! Grade: A-

9. “Pipe Dreams”- Overall, this is not my favorite tune on the album, but it is a good song none the less. The horns are strong as usual, and vocally, The Evokatones keep the listener guessing. Grade: B

10. “Soul Police”-Colleen and Co. finish strong in this last number which is probably my favorite on the disc. Starting out slow, tension and anticipation builds, and then it switches to your classic upbeat ska tune. Amazing! Grade: A

For those of you have been reading my reviews for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of female-fronted bands. With Colleen Curran at the mic, the Evokatones are certainly no exception. Colleen’s voice shows a lot of range from the more Jamaican sounding “Rudie” to the more sweet, soulful take in “Soul Police.” This being stated Colleen does stay within her bounds and does not force anything she cannot pull off vocally. Musically speaking there are certainly influences from several different genres such as rock and Latin, but overall the main theme is ska. This is certainly refreshing, when it seems as if many bands try to redefine a genre of music instead of just putting their own little spin on it. The horns are prevalent in every song, and almost every tune features a guitar solo as well. Each of the 10 songs is distinct from the one before, giving this album a long shelf life. I know I have played this over and over on my commute to work and its enjoyability has not waned. Maybe you have not heard of this band before, but it’s time to start paying attention. This album is a skankin’ good time!

Overall Grade: A-

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