Psycho Ska [The First Three Years -- 1990-1993] (Dill Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Known for being the dark ska band on Dill Records, blending heavy punk rock with some ska, Los Rudiments have now gone their separate ways. Moving on to other things, Dill has decided to give fans material from their original demo cassette and 7"s. Covering the first three years, this disc definitely shows a different side of the band.
Starting off with "Too Late," right from the beginning you get a very different feel for this band then you would on BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, their debut CD. Where as on BITCH, BITCH, BITCH they were mighty heavy, this track relies on a lot more ska. Heavy only on the upbeat, this song is pretty light and fluffy, giving you the dance vibe all the way through. And since they focus on the guitar and its upbeat the whole way through, you won't miss a step. "The Doctor" is the same way. Infectious, up tempo ska beats line their way through this song. Creating third wave ska, with a twist, they always remain on the ska side, and keep the punk out of this number. The chorus is where they thrown the twists in. Adding a haunting feeling, they give the song a light spook, but keep it very light. A prelude to some of their future works, they only time they get heavy is when they end the song. From this track alone you can definitely feel the direction the band was nodding to in their future works. "The Doctor" has to be one of the best tracks these guys have ever written. It's a third-wave ska number that bridges itself with a pop-chorus. Funny and energetic, the two biggest things you'll get from this song is a good dance and a smile. A chunky upbeat, they keep your feet moving while keeping the smile on your face with their 'medical advice.' "Joyce" starts to show the demo side of the band. A funk number, I have nothing against funk, except when it's not done good. As the first three songs of their demo tape show, they were best at the third wave ska stuff. But when "Joyce" comes on and they attempt funk, you really begin to lose interest in the disc. Follow that up with "2-Face (Baby)," another funk song, and suddenly the disc is earning its way out of your CD player. Definitely proving this was a demo tape, you give the disc a little slack and keep listening. But as you keep listening, "Trash" is just that. Not only is the recording quality less than spectacular, but the number is pretty dull. The verses aren't bad, but when the chorus hits the song is ruined. "Dine In Crossfire" shows the band leaning towards their BITCH, BITCH, BITCH side. A hardcore/metal number, they don't even pull off the hardcore. But as you keep listening for a reason to put up with the second half of the disc, they finally give you one on "Pathfinder." A ska-dub track, they once again show that when they stick with their ska-side they have no problem writing decent songs. Mix in a few samples for fun, and this seven minute track actually puts this disc back on the right path. But then they go and decide to cover "Two Joints," a song Sublime made popular on their 40 OZ. TO FREEDOM disc. Let's just say they butcher the song, and Sublime did a much better rendition of it. But as the disc spins on, "Wailing Paddle" hits you and you're once again focused on the disc. Very catchy, this is probably the second best track on this disc. A straight ahead ska-punk track, the verses will get you singing and dancing with the music, while the chorus will get you slamming and jumping around. Ending with another dub track, "Dope Street Dub," they close out with a poorly recorded number that comes off as cheap filler. A waste of time even, although it has everything against it in terms of recording equipment.
Los Rudiments definitely did their share of variety, and this disc proves it. Not always at their best, they weren't afraid to experiment, which is a good thing. There are a few tracks on this disc that show a very solid band, especially half of their original demo tape, but somewhere along the way the experimentation got the best of them and they fell pray to their own musical ideas. This disc is for the hardcore fan only, all others will find a few outstanding tracks and just ignore the rest of the disc. I'll give it a C.
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