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July 12, 2024

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Mad Caddies
Quality Soft Core (Honest Don's Hardly Rude Recordings/P.O. Box 192027/San Francisco, CA 94119)

By: Alex Steininger

With so many ska-pop hybrids coming out of the wood works these days, you may be skeptical about getting five feet near a ska-pop band and their CD. But then the name "Mad Caddies" is spoken, and you start to turn you head. This ska-pop/punk hybrid band gives you a touch of all their worlds, and blends it into a flavorful taste that is sure to excite any fan of ska or pop-punk, and even the ska-pop skeptics out there. But then again, if your a die-hard traditional fan, then I recommend you stay away from this CD.

Quality Soft Core starts out with "I'm So Alone." The intro is very soft, and has a more traditional feeling to it, due to the softer recording of the material as it blends quietly in the background. Then the drums tap there way into the song, and the sound quality of the recording is turned up a bit. It still keeps a very slow, pop-ska rhythm to it for about half of a minute or so, and then once again the drums beat there way into the next time change. The pace is picked up, and the dancing frenzy has begun. A very third wave style to the music, and then it jumps into some pop, but back to the third wave licks again. Some distortion in the guitar is thrown in here and there, adding a poppy punk feel now and then. A guitar solo at eventually comes into the song, which didn't really thrill me. There is a time and a place for everything, but this time the guitar solo definitely felt out of place. Then a slam of punk is thrown, and the dancing stops. A sweaty mosh breaks out in your mind. The rest of the song ends with more punk than ska. "The Bell Tower" is a very light ska-pop song. It will get you moving and swaying, with a slight skank to your step. All the while the vocals have a moderate reggae-esqe feel to them. The song stays at the same tempo the whole way through. "Crew Cut Church" has an amusing country intro--vocals and all. But then the fuzz of the guitar is slammed into you, and the style quickly jumps into a comfortable punk fitting. But once again, they stun you with another follow-up lick of country sure to get you smiling. But right back to some solid punk beats, fast and furious, to end off the song. The songs not the best, but it will get you smiling the first hundred times you hear it. "Big Brother" has some nice horns in the intro, and then the song kicks into full gear. It quickly changes from fuzzy punk guitars, to skankable strokes of the guitar. A very heavy blessing of punk in this "ska" song. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I enjoy it, but for the purists who don't like hybrid music of any sort you'll go running. The chorus is mighty infectious with heavy guitars, and a beat that will send warmth throughout your body. If you didn't like the song, after the chorus you'll be hooked. "Preppie Girl" shows the bands down to earth, teen angst lyrics in full bloom. The starting is very soft, with just vocals and light guitar work. "She bought herself a diamond ring before the evening show/A $90 bracelet on daddy's visa gold," is lightly said of the world's worst enemy in their mind. Then it kicks into some true to the bone ska-punk at it's best. You'll be dancing during the verses, and during the chorus you'll be jumping around singing along, "She's a preppy girl. Makes me wanna hurl. She's a preppy girl. Fucking preppy girl." Yes, this is definitely the album stand out. Infectious melodies throughout (although the rest are very infectious too...), if this song doesn't catch your attention, nothing on this album will. The CD closes out with "Sad Reggie." Another soft, ska intro. Horns warming the sole, while the melody gently taps at your emotions. The horns get stronger, and the pace picks up. Upbeat guitar strokes move your feet in a moderately fast skankin' pace. The vocals add depth too. The melody changes back down to it's slower friend, and back to a more up tempo beat off and on. Throw in some in-your-face punk beats half way through the song, and everything is complete.

If your a ska purist, this might not be your cup o' tea. But if your a fan of various forms of ska, pop, and punk jump aboard. This is a ride you'll never forget. Some memorable moments, and some disappointing moments can both be found on this CD, but isn't that life? While others try to force the ska into their hybrid sound, Mad Caddies lets the sound flow in natural, giving it a more realistic, trustworthy sound. Go visit good ol' Honest Don, and pick up a copy of this CD today. This album deserves a B.

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