Ingrid (SFLB Records)
By: Alex Steininger
The Inspector hails from California. Mixing a heavy amount of traditional ska with a bit of a modern day, third wave ska feeling these guys show a lot of promise and talent. On their debut CD, INGRID, they serve up nine tracks that will get you simultaneously dancing and smiling.
"Tree's of the Field" kicks off the CD. Bright horn lines are mixed in with a nice upbeat on the guitar. The drums are soft, yet have enough muscle to keep the background active and lively. The bass is stable, giving the song some nice rhythm. The lyrics aren't the most exceptional, but the music is too upbeat and danceable to care. The music is at its best when the horns are present, as they add a lot of meat to the music. "Chocolate Malted" kicks it off with some nice horns. As they wrap around you and the sounds fly out of the speakers, the drums tap down while the vocals and the rest of the band enters in. The horns cut out, and the song gives you a bit to dance off of. The lyrics get a little better, as they tell the story of a kid and his third grade teacher. The song is rough and sounds like the band was a bit unprepared during the recording of it, but for the most part it's a nice number that has a lot to offer in terms of giving off enough for you to dance with. "Rocksteady Outta Your Seat" is a nice rocksteady number that is slow and breezy. Calm and gentle, it contains some nice horn work in it. The drums softly tap in the background, along with the bass, while the guitar serves up some slow upbeats. The vocals are clean and steady, giving the song a nice touch. "Girl In Plain" is a bouncy mixture of third wave ska and traditional beats. The horns sing in the background of the music, giving the song nice depth. And when the horn solos appear, the music is even that much richer. The drums always keep the rhythm section in check, as they keep the pace steady. The bass works along side the drums, giving the song some added help in the rhythm section. And the guitar helps keep the song very bouncy, courtesy of the upbeat. Not always that high in the mix, sometimes the guitar gets drowned out by the drums, vocals, and the horns. Not a biggie, as the song still maintains a bouncy edge, but I would have liked to hear more guitar in this number. 'Heart of Gold" closes out the CD.
Being the debut CD from this band, there is a lot that needs to be worked on. They were a bit rough, and not as well composed as they should have been. According to some information I've received on the band, they recorded this album on very bad terms. Only practicing once a month, horn players that couldn't make gigs, forcing the band to cancel many shows, and a few other problems that factored into that. Taking all that into consideration, they sounded pretty good. I'll give this CD a B-. I have, however, obtained some material from their forthcoming album (it should be out later in May) and it sounds a lot better. The horns pack a bigger punch, which is a real plus, and as a whole they seem to play a lot better together. "Tree's of the Field" has been re-recorded, and it sounds ten times better. I still don't really think the lyrics are that spectacular, but the song is a lot more infectious, and with its high energy and dance-ability, you wont even pay attention to the lyrics. The other three cuts (including a live cut) sound great. The live cut blew me away. They sounded so composed and played together so professionally, and the quality was so great, I didn't even know it was a live track until I read it on the back of the CD case. From this sample of their forthcoming material, I can't help but think it will be something very enjoyable.
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