In Music We Trust >> Frontpage
November 20, 2017


Search In Music We Trust
Sign up for mailing list
Article Archives
>> Article ArchivesFeatured ArticlesInterviews & Show Reviews#ABCDEFGHIJKL MNOPQRSTUVWXYZVarious ArtistsDVD Reviews
Engine 54
Run For The Money (Simmerdown Productions)

By: Alex Steininger

Hailing from Olympia, Washington, Engine 54 is one of the Northwest's finest ska bands. Combining traditional ska and rocksteady with an occasional dose of third-wave ska, these guys will blow you away. A ten piece band, each member helps to add a little something extra to the band on their latest release, RUN FOR THE MONEY, on Simmerdown Productions.

The title track kicks off the CD. Right from the beginning they get you up and dancing. The percussion is soft and keeps the backbone of the song together nicely. Calmly the bass thumps its way through the song, helping to keep the rhythm section powerful. The horns are mellow, adding a nice breeze of soul and passion to the music. The guitar is slow, but that doesn't stop it from being hot and very irresistible. As it churns out a softly-powerful upbeat, its lethal vibrations crawl through your body and force you to dance. If that weren't enough the vocals are smooth and can carry a tune, and the song has a lot of catchiness to it. With all these factors combined, you'll fall pray to the music and dance and sing along with the band. "Rain" displays another side of the band, a more bouncy third wave side. Starting out with some semi-fast paced guitar, a hard hitting rhythm section, and vocals that maintain style and class even though they turn up the speed, this song is definitely one that will appeal to traditionalists, two tone boys, ska-popsters, and even the ears of the ska-punkers. The versus are full of energy and very out going, while the chorus starts off with some punchy horns and then quickly jumps into some more upbeat, bouncy ska rhythms. But don't confuse this stuff with ska-pop. They're able to create brilliant hooks, most likely through 60's pop influences, and speed things up while still keeping their character style in tact. Unlike pop-ska bands where pop is a heavy influence, pop takes a back seat here. "Rudeboy's Serenade" is another very up tempo number that will get you dancing and bouncing around your room. "Be My Guest" slows things down a bit and leans back to their traditional influences. Just as good, and just as smooth as the other numbers it too provides a lot to bite off. Slow and written with lots of hooks, you'll be unable to resist this number as you take your excitement with you to the dance floor. "Burn It Down" once again serves up a mid tempo number that is not only very infectious, but soulful as well. The guitar slides through the number giving you some 'feet candy' while the rhythm section helps to penetrate your body and get you moving. The vocals carry the words nicely, as they turn the words into a soothing story, rather than a soothing voice just spitting out words. And "Pathway To The Soul" closes out the disc with a slow and well-thought out number. Drenched in very warming horns, a light rhythm section, a calm upbeat, and gentle vocals, this number serves as a great final chapter for a fabulous series of songs.

Engine 54 has came a long way from their original recordings. Solid and strong, they churn out ska that can relax you or burn holes in your socks until you dance. They are multi-talented musicians who know how to diversify their music while still keeping it related to the same base. I highly recommend this CD. I'll give it an A+.

Copyright © 1997-2017, In Music We Trust, Inc. All Rights Reserved.