An Eh For An Eh A Toque For A Toque (Elevator Music)
By: Alex Steininger
Jiker is a seven piece ska, metal, and punk fusion from New York. Playing hard, fast, and with lots of surprises, they serve up yet another take on the whole "ska-punk" category currently used to label any band that doesn't play ska in the traditional sense. And on their full-length debut they show how some hyperactivity and some youthful angst can go a long way in creating a sound that is not only loud and energetic, but is also entertaining.
"Death March" starts off the CD with a grim, dreary feeling. Some background screams and shrieks make an appearance, but they are drown out by thick metal guitars and a heavy rhythm section. I started to question the CD after just this one track and was wondering if it was going to be a bad metal album with light traces of ska to sell itself. But after the opening sample of "10 by 32 1/2" regarding how skateboarding is "obnoxious," they jumped right into some pounding drums and a quirky guitar which hooked me. Strong horn lines burst in over a fast punk base while the rhythm section kept everything thick and heavy. The heavy metal accent in the number weakened everything a bit, but other than that it was pretty good. "Krash The Prom" is a fast paced punk number with contrasting horns to give a lighter feeling. Highly energetic and full of hooks, this number is an album stand out. The teen angst topic alone made it jump to me just by looking at the track listings, and the music helped elevate it as well. "Born 2 Rage" starts out with a sample, which is fine the first few times you listen to the CD, but after that it gets sort of old. Disregarding the opening sample, the song itself is mediocre. It has a nice, drunk-punk sing-along feel to it during the chorus, but the verses lose all of that and turn the song into a punk/hardcore jam which seems to last until the end, where the guitar work starts to offer something very promising before it all ends. "Mike Prenderfast" is a must hear. The horns are soothing and enchanting, at the same time, and the guitar serves an upbeat that will move right to your feet and get you dancing. No distortion or anything, just straight forward, clean ska. The drums and bass work together to form one tight rhythm section, helping to back the number and give your body more grooves to move with. The whole song is nothing short of a great instrumental that will keep you coming back for more, each time moving you more and more and pushing you out on the dance floor. Also having a nice dance feeling to it, "The Young Ones" picks up the pace and serves up a very bouncy, highly seductive instrumental that will tease your feet until your body can't take it anymore and decides to jump up and wildly move with the music.
This disc is powerful and moving, but sometimes their metal influences are too apparent and detract from the rest of their style. But when they are hot, they are hot, getting you jumping and moving with ease. I'll give this disc a B.
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