Tomorrow The World (Jump Up! Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Greenhouse is a nine-piece ska band hailing from the Midwest, Illinois to be more specific. Mixing in elements of swing, traditional ska, and 2-tone, they come out with their own blend of third wave ska. Mixing humor with danceable melodies, the outcome is music you can dance and laugh too.
TOMORROW THE WORLD starts out with "Too Late," a very up tempo, fast paced number that will send you flying out to the dance floor and burning holes in your soles. It starts off with a fast paced upbeat, some soothing horns, and light percussion and bass. Then the drums increase their speed, while the horns get faster. The guitar gets louder in the mix, and the bass picks up a bit. They jam away like this for about twenty seconds, and then the vocals jump in. The vocals are smooth and clear, giving the song a very well-rounded feeling. A few hooks are thrown into the mix, and following each hook comes some background noise. This distracts you a little from the music, but it only lasts ten seconds, which is a good thing. "Love Noise" once again serves up some action packed melodies. The listener is at the mercy of the guitar, as it runs through the song stronger than a marathon runner. The horns add extra power to the song, and help to energize your body during the fast paced skankin' you'll be doing. "Sterile" starts off with some nice bass lines that have a lot of groove to them, before a heavily distorted guitar comes in and ruins the song. Horns chirp in trying to give the song some strength, but they come off too choppy and don't work. The keyboard floats through the song, and although it helps lighten the sound up, is drowned out by the heavily distorted guitar. The song itself sounds as if it was poorly recorded, not even reaching half the production quality the other songs hold. In the end the song never comes together and sounds like a mess thrown together with some weak horns. At its very best moment it's a bad garage rock song. "Agua" shows a swingin' side to Greenhouse, as they mix a nice swing beat inside a pop-ska mold. Strong horn lines help push this song to its maximum strength, while grand percussion work also plays a vital role. The vocals are smooth and clean, essential for any good swing band. The bass helps pack a bite to the song, while the guitar slips in pop hooks and a nice upbeat here and there. Dance, swing, or bounce around to this number. The music is diverse enough to cover all those reactions to good music. And did I mention the song is about wanting agua (water) after a hard days work in gym class? It's all good clean fun, fun that you can dance too! "Women Around The Corner" is a traditional ska influenced piece. Mixing in a lot of traditional ska roots with some parts of 2-tone, they come out with a slow, yet still up tempo, number that will give you a break from their other vigorous beats. The horn section even spends more time spitting out horn notes and cherishing their own playing than spitting out quick notes and jumping to the next note, another traditional ska standard they added to help capture a more traditional feeling. "Super Trendy Retro World" closes out with a swingin' take on their views of the current music scene. Such lyrical passages as "Why rely on inspiration, when you can plagiarize the best," and "It's always safe to be unkind, but then oh well, whatever, nevermind. Hello, hello, hello, hello!" show what they think of the current state of music as we know it.
Greenhouse may not be the most original ska band, or the most talented, but they do make good use of what they have available to them. Blending each members talents accordingly, the outcome is music that will make you dance at times, swing at times, and laugh most of the time. And if the music wasn't enough, the CD booklet comes with a ska fun facts sheet, and a bread recipe. Let me give you a taste of some of these "facts":
-Ska music was invented by No Doubt and the Bosstones in 1992.
-The guitar player for Goldfinger is actually the son of Skatalites founder Tommy McCook.
-Ska is corporate evil incarnate, solely designed to distract you from the anti-establishment of messages of punk rock.
-And the final one, not really a ska fact, but none the less a fact they provide you...the soft taco is a better value than the regular taco, because it offers lots more calories at the same low price.
With humor written all over, how can you not pick up this CD and laugh, thus having a good time? I'll give this CD an A-.