Big D & The Kids' Table/Drexel
Shot By Lammi SPLIT CD (Fork In Hand Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Combining two full-lengths on one record, between Big D & The Kids' Table and Drexel, Fork In Hand Records' first release helps showcase two bands from Boston, Massachusetts. Big D & The Kids' Table plays a ska-punk fusion, while Drexel is a straight ahead punk-pop band.
The first half of the CD is Big D & The Kids' Table, contributing eleven tracks. Their first number, "In Front of Me," jumps off with some ska. Bright horns drive the song, while the hot upbeat jumps through the song with ease, giving you the option to dance or jump. Hard hitting drums help keep the backbone of the song just as intense as the surface. Mix in a tight bass, and you have a solid number. Bridging a punk chorus with ska verses, the dance to crash combination helps the listener feed energy off of the band. "Jeremy" mixes in a bit of hip-hop styled vocals, as well as some jazz beats that somehow find life amongst the ska-punk atmosphere they breed in. Strong horns push the song, while the rhythm section holds everything together nicely. Mix in the guitar, which won't let the listener forget they need to have fun and dance, and everything is almost complete. But the most important ingredient in this song, the one that makes it work, is not the vocals, nor the lyrics, nor the instrumentation, but rather the individual band members and the fun they portray. That's right, the band sounds and acts as if they're having a wonderful time recording this track. Both humorous and fun, this song will definitely make you smile. "Stupid Mind" starts out with some punk, and all-of-a-sudden the guitar quickly switches to some fast paced ska beats, which instantly sends the listener into a frenzy. Jumping back into the punk, and then the ska, and once again back in the punk they keep this exchange going, as to never let the listener know what to expect. Slowing down a bit and softening the tone, the song seems to be fading away, but they soon bust into some funk-punk beats and get crazy. Keeping with the funk-punk for a bit, they eventually end with some ska. Not afraid to let the listener know they're influenced by more than ska and punk, they mix it nicely into their hybrid sound. "Conserve" keeps the song danceable all the way through, for the most part. There are a few parts sprinkled in which lean towards the punk side of the band, but it's brief. "Everyone's got someone, but nobody's got me," bursts out through the song, and even with the punk-tinted ska going and the vocals shouting those words, you still can relate and feel what they have to say. Ending their portion of the disc with "Tommy," they close out with a fast paced number that starts out ska-punk and slowly converts into an all punk number.
Next up is the punk sounds of Drexel. Letting the punk side dominate more than the pop side, they still have a fair amount of pop to keep their punk catchy and melodic. Starting off with "Praise On Them," they dive right into some thick guitars, fast drum beats, and jumpy bass. Giving the listener enough speed to bounce around with, they slow the song down during certain parts, but soon turn the speed back up and give the listener another work out. "Shoe" is the same way. Right from the beginning they start off fast, then they slow down a bit, and eventually jump right back into some speed to throw at the listener. Driving the song, the guitar has no problems leading the way, while the bass and drums have no problem keeping up. Showing some diversity, "Allright" starts out with a little Southern Rock twist, before quickly jumping right into the punk playing field that raised it. They soon slide into some heavily distorted upbeat on the guitar, giving the song a little bit of a dance feeling. But with the rough surroundings, the dance has no where to go. Lasting only a little bit, the song zips right by you in a New York minute, so you better pay attention. Ending with "Promise," they close out their portion of the disc with some loose-punk rock. Not as solid as some of their other numbers, this piece seems to have been thrown together in a short amount of time and then recorded. Although, the loose-fit style does work for them a bit. They pull it off, and muster up a decent punk number. Also giving us some hidden track material, the band has a metal jam at the very end of the disc.
Two bands, two full-lengths (ten or more songs...) on one CD. It's a good deal. Together both bands are able to provide enough music and fun to last over sixty minutes, which is always worth it on one CD. Simply put...this CD is a good deal for what you get. I'll give it an A.