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June 25, 2024

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One Groovy Coconut
More Like That Than This (Moon Ska Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Featuring former, as well as current, members of great ska bands such as The Scofflaws and the NY Ska Jazz Ensemble, One Groovy Coconut once again shows why New York is the place for ska. Best described as 2-Tone ska, their sound encompasses a lot of other ska variations such as traditional and third-wave, giving them a wide-range to play with on their debut CD.

Starting off with an instrumental, "Deep Dark Chocolate" offers some nice horns, good organ work, and a pretty powerful upbeat. You'll also find a steady rhythm section, which is the key to any good song. Although not my favorite way to start an album, this instrumental does a good job of warming you up, especially the horns. But nothing can prepare you for the next track, "New Wave Crashing," which is also on the BREAKING AND ENTERING: New York Beat ska compilation (Moon Ska). While "Deep Dark Chocolate" nodded its head to traditional ska, "New Wave Crashing" is deeply rooted in the 2-Tone style. From the opening lines of "You used to wear those flannel shirts, but now you're wearing skinny ties," you know this song is going to be both angry and fun. Another link that really caught my attention was, "Everyone wants to quickly sign up to follow the next Kurt Cobain, but will the ones who follow him fall into his early grave?" There is a lot of sympathy and sadness in that line, but mixed in with other lines in the song, there is also deep sorrow and some anger about all these bands that jump on bandwagons. Aside from the lyrics, the music is rather upbeat and amazingly danceable. The song and lyrics go hand-in-hand, making everything easy to sing along with, while the horns, guitar, and the band work together to get you dancing. With a perfect mixture of dancing and the sing-along feel, this track has earned my seal of 'best track on the CD.' "Catalina" has a lot going for it as well. The vocals are smooth, almost having a swing-ish quality to them. This adds tremendously to the song, as the horns depend on a lot of swing and jazz for their influences on this number. Mixing that feel along with a traditional meets 2-Tone dominance, this number displays a band that has many influences and can bring them all together in one number and have them all shine during certain parts. "Pizza for Two," on the other hand, jumps right into a 2-Tone style, leaving all the other styles to take a back seat. The vocals now possess a different feel to them, mixing American punk stylings with a slight English accent, paying homage to their 2-Tone forefathers. Playing steady at a mid-tempo pace, the song is generally slow except for some spontaneous hyperness near the end. The horns just go crazy and turn up the heat, forcing the band to play faster to keep up with them. From there they jump back into the slower pace and end the number. "Crash Course in Cars" is a quick, minute and a half number that is highly melodic and very catchy. Full of energy, if you're not dancing you'll be singing along. Closing the same way they started, with an instrumental, "Millenium Falcon" provides a nice cap on this album.

This CD is nice because they'll be playing the slower, more traditional ska and then on the next track they'll jump to some infectious 2-Tone, giving them a wide-range of both reactions they'll receive from the music and the fan base they'll appeal too. I'll give this disc an A-.

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