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June 19, 2024

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Slow Gherkin
Double Happiness (Asian Man Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Originally released on Raj Records, Double Happiness is now available on Asian Man Records. Slow Gherkin is a third wave ska band that also has a fair amount of punk influences which sometimes carry over to the music. Eighteen tracks compose this disc.

The CD starts out with "Slaughterhouse." A nice bass line kicks off the song. Then the rest of the band enters, creating a dance frenzy. The vocals are rough, almost like you'd find in a punk band. The music itself is very bouncy and friendly. The horns sound off and create a delicious sound for you to gobble up, and the drums keep your skankin' steady. "Mutually Parasitic" has a softer, cozier feel to it. The vocals are a lot smoother, and the music is a lot more happy and bouncy. If you weren't dancing by now, you will be. This song is very good. Everything combines to give you a warm sensation, and your feet will notice. "Drunken Sailor" was recorded live. The song itself is great, but the recording quality isn't the best. The music is fast enough and bouncy enough to keep you skankin' throughout. Overall, the song is pretty good. The band has tremendous energy, and you can tell from the live recording. But somehow I think a studio recording would have done a lot more for the song. It may not have captured the live intensity of the band, but the song would be louder and better quality which would amount to a bit more enjoyment. Same goes for "Zen and Soccer." The song will get you up and dancing throughout the whole thing, but the absence of a studio recording hurts a bit. If they wanted to include their live intensity on this CD, maybe putting the songs at the end of the CD or having them as hidden tracks would have been a better idea? One minute your hearing a nice and loud studio song, and the next minute your hearing a live recording that isn't the best of recording. I think that took some power away from them. "Operation Thunderballs" is a surf-ska track. It kicks it off with a nice bass line, and then the guitar jumps in with some surf music. Then the song jumps into some ska and the next thing you know your up and skankin' around your CD player. The bass is meaty the whole way through, while the guitar goes from skankable riffs to occasional surf riffs to mix things up a bit and keep them interesting. "Bad Driver" is just a fast surf-punk song. The recording isn't the best, but the sudden shock of some punk will throw you off guard. "Salsa III" has a nice Hispanic intro, before jumping into the ska that you love. The lyrics are in Spanish, but the music is powerful enough to carry them both. It just bugs me when they sing in a language I can't understand, because lyrics are a great part of what I enjoy in the music. But oh well, kick back and have some fun on this track! "Este Toro" is just an instrumental (with the occasional shout) track. But don't fear, these guys can kick out the instrumentals almost as well as they can do the songs with vocals. The horns are especially bright and powerful on this track, and the song has a South American zing to it. All and all, a great track that will warm your heart. "Achilles' Dub" finishes off the CD. One minute and fourteen seconds of some cool, calm, and relaxing dub. Enjoy!

Slow Gherkin definitely has a future in ska music. Their special blend of upbeat ska music with the occasional spice is sure to win over the hearts of many ska fans. Don't be reluctant, and pick up this CD today. I'll give this CD a B+.

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