Welcome to Canada, it’s the Maple Leaf State!

A relative newcomer to the ska scene is Francbâtards from Montreal Canada.  Formed in 2012, this 8-piece band blends several other music genres such as reggae, and hip hop into their own mix of ska.  Their self-titled debut album dropped at the end of 2014.  Let’s do this…

  1. “Déracinés des Hommes”-After starting out with a haunting,“nightmarish” vibe, Francbâtards effortlessly blends rap with a dirty reggae sound.  The instrumentation is excellent here, showcasing not only the horns and guitar, but the percussion as well.  Grade: B+
  2. “Rude Boy”-  There is a lot going on with this tune, with its changing melodies, and switching between French and English.  Throw some swank, some good old-fashioned dance grooves and just a pinch of spaghetti western into a blender and you have “Rude Boy.”  This song is a great time.   Grade: A-
  3. “Bulletin Spécial”-While the rapping seems a bit more cumbersome in this tune, I like the overall Spanish flavor of this song.  The horns are really fantastic along with the percussion, much like “Déracinés des Hommes.”  Grade: B
  4. “Errance”-Let’s start this one off with a sweet jazz-inspired trumpet solo!  The raspy vocals add a nice contrast to the otherwise smooth instrumentals.  I also appreciate how this number changes rhythms throughout.  Grade: B
  5. “Mouton Noir”- This song makes me feel like I am running from the bulls in Pamplona.  Classic Hispanic stylings lace this track at every turn.  Grade: A
  6. “Enrage”-“Enrage” is a kick to the face kind of ska song.  I really like the trading off of vocals at the 2-minute mark.  Grade: B+
  7. “Ce Soir”-This song is definitely not in French, but rather in Spanish.  This one is heavy on the rapping type vocals but again blends many styles with ease.  Grade B+
  8. “Lehoua”- “Lehua” slows things down a bit from the get-go but then progressively adds speed and aggressiveness.  Although it feels a tad long, it is a good song none the less.  Grade: B+

 

It can be a tricky business blending several musical styles to form one cohesive sound.  However, Francbâtards does just that in this impressive debut album.  While I did not resonate as much with the more rap-infused songs, there is a lot to appreciate here.  This “north of the border band” can play “south of the border” sounding songs like true Mexican natives.  The instrumentals are top notch and I especially enjoy the songs featuring the conga (or are they bongo?) drums.  Many songs switch rhythms throughout which is no easy task either.  While I don’t think there are any songs boasting crunchy punk-rock guitars, the vocalist alone creates a gruff, edgy feel juxtaposed with smooth melodies.  Even if you don’t speak French this “dirty reggae” disc packs a punch!  Overall Grade: B+

So what did you think? Share it my friend!

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