runforyerlife (Jump Up! Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Runforyerlife covers the gamut of ska with their unique blend of jazz, pop, traditional-influenced ska, Klezmer, hip-hop, and Caribbean rhythms. Best described as a flavorful blend ska, with a heavily traditional root, the band's female-fronted vocal sound is backed up with a nice dance groove that will get you on the floor skanking with enthusiasm.
"Tanktop" and "Spy" showcase the band's traditional appeal. Jazzy horns mark each song, while the rhythm section plays steady with a heavy accent on Caribbean flavors. The lead vocals flow like silk over the song, adding a nice aroma to mix.
Then there is songs like the instrumental "Crinkle," "Te Vi," "Hand That Feeds," "Dr. C. Funk," which hint at a more up-tempo, faster side of the band. The songs take on a more '3rd wave' approach as they speed things up and get you dancing at a very vigorous pace.
Of course, then there is the heavily distorted intro of "Adoline," which hints at a metal influence. Then the song busts into a hyper-ska song typical of ska-punk. The horns are bold and dash out in front of you, while the guitar just cruises down its path with neck-breaking speeds. The rhythm section keeps up well, hammering the notes with flare and speed.
"How Light The Moon" points at a funk influence as well, as the rhythm section gets down and funky. All the while, the horns settle back into a Klezmer meets Caribbean horn taste. The even manage to throw some jazz notes your way too, which makes for an interesting combination, especially when the funk is tossed into the mix.
"Heard and Not Seen" is another song that takes a ska-punk approach to things, jumping around like a kid on a sugar buzz. It then bursts into a cleaner, but still fast, third wave ditty and gets you dancing with a clever groove and plenty of tasty percussion beats. Of course, that doesn't last long, because they jump right back into the ska-punk section of the song and continue to trade off with different styles, even adding some funk near the middle.
Eclectic definitely applies to this band. They'll start out with a traditional groove, throw in some funk, and the next minute will be knee deep in some ska-punk. It sounds good though, and keeps things interesting, so you can't hold them down for that. The female vocals bring the songs to life, while the band keeps things exciting. I'll give the album a B.