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November 21, 2017


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Red Session
R. Roan's Wee Thyme (One Wipe Productions)

By: Alex Steininger

Red Session is an up tempo, fun filled third wave ska band from Hawaii. Fronted by both a female and male, who trade vocal duties, this band will throw a unique ska sound your way. Filled with funny lyrics, lots of skankable moments, and power times that you'll just want to smash your body up against something. Yes, you'll find it all here.

The CD starts off with "Frantic," lead by their female vocalist. After some quiet sampling at the beginning, it busts right into some up beat melodies and skankable riffs that will find your feet and make them start dancing. The female vocals add a nice touch to the song, giving it a much more happier feeling. After all, nobody wants to feel depressed. Even with the lyrics talking about a guy who has burnt all his bridges and can't do anything about it, you still feel a really happy vibe with the music and the vocals. "Gutter" starts out with a slight funk meets blues music style, and then the horns suddenly show up and then the song turns to a jazz meets ska song. The guitar provides some nice ska riffs that will get you dancing in no time, while the horns, bass, and drums trade off from ska and jazz melodies. Soon the guitar joins in with some jazz riffs. But it soon jumps back to the ska riffs. On the vocals the man leads, while the female performs the back up vocals. A nice mixture that sounds very relaxing. "Ed" starts it off fast and skankable from the beginning, and continues that way all the way through. The male leads the song with his slightly rough vocals , giving the song a lot more texture. During the chorus the horns are the strongest, and it sounds great. The drums tap on the cymbals, which adds a nice tin cup sound to the music. The bass hammers away and adds a little dance to your step. The guitar leads the music through a number that is sure to get you up and dancing, and most importantly, forcing you to have a great time. "Skasekawach" starts out very quietly and soft. Soon the guitar singles a change, and the song picks it up. The song is very rough, and not as well composed as the other songs. Maybe it's the fact that the song just seems quieter than the rest, I don't know. It just sounds like it's really rough and could use a bit more practice. Other than that, the song is catchy and will make you dance. I'm sure it's a great song live. "Tokin' Mama" has a mellow starting, and then the female vocals enter and keep everything at a very mellow tone. I like it a lot better when the female leads the vocals, and the male does the backing vocals. After all their fast and powerful skankin' beats, this song is a nice breather. You'll lightly dance to this track, and the horns will mend any wound your currently feeling. The emotion and power this song gives off is incredible. It is just a beautiful song. It has to be the blend of the slow to medium paced guitar that gets your feet in the mood, combined with the gentle horns and relaxing female vocals. "Tree" starts out with some swing style intro's that will remind you of P.I.'s and all the mystery associated with swing music, and then the actual song comes on. Reggae like vocals (the male vocals) lead the song through a number which sounds heavily reggae influenced, with a touch of swing and a healthy dose of ska backing it up. Once again, the horns shine through like the morning sun and provide the inspiration behind the song. Soon the female vocals enter in and she tries to add a little reggae flavor to her vocals. It just didn't work, but then she goes back to her normal vocals and all is forgotten. Soon the male vocals enter back in, and the add the roughness to the song that it needs. On this song, I prefer the male vocals leading. The song is just the right flavor to get you dancing, swingin', and moving your feet about. "Livin' It Up" is an up beat classic that is definitely one of the best songs on the album. The male vocals lead you through this song with power, while the female vocals contribute through backing vocals and add depth to the song. The female vocals even take over a part of the song, which makes the song even better. Once you get to this track you'll be a fan of both the vocals, and you'll fall in love with their combination. It truly is amazing. "(Elephant Waltz) Tyke" is basically a sample that will take you back to your first carnival, with an accordion playing the music behind the sample. It lasts for about a minute, and is the final track on the CD. But wait? There's a track fourteen? Yes, and track fourteen contains three surprise goodies for you! Another song, some humor, as well as their thank-you's. Now how original is that?

Red Session is a very talented band. With a label behind them they could climb to the top of the ska scene. But the one downfall of this recording is the fact that it is very lo-fi, and just generally not the best I've heard. It needs a lot of work, and their sound (although very fun and catchy) often shows signs of weakness and practice being needed. But again, it could just be the lack of an experienced producer and good recording equipment. Whatever the case may be, these guys are definitely talented and exciting. If your into having a good time while listening to music, and like ska this album is something you'll enjoy. I sure did! I'll give it a B+.

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