12 (Raj Records)
By: Alex Steininger
The Offbeatniks are a very diverse band sure to please any fan of third wave, up-tempo ska as well as those ska-punk'ers out there. Trading off between male lead and female lead vocals, these guys (and gal) also jump between heavily punk edged ska and quick and tremendously danceable third wave licks. The bottom line is, if your looking for it, you'll find it!
The CD starts off with "Dandy." If your not dancing and singing along within two minutes you must be dead. The vocals start out with a bit of a snot-lined punk touch, but soon they jump into the chorus and the female vocals take over. A nice harmony is created by the male/female dual. Soon the verse come backs in the picture, and the vocals go back to their punk influence. But just when you want it, the chorus hits you and you start singing along. Soon the female takes over as the music gets a bit softer and more relaxed. The mood is quickly shifted back into the dancing frenzy that is ever present throughout this album. The first track, and possibly the best song on the album. But that doesn't mean the album takes a nose dive after that track. Hardly! It keeps the pace, with a few songs coming very close to beating "Dandy" for the album stand-out title. One of those being "Fly Away." Led by female vocals this song is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The beat is up tempo and danceable, but still keeps a very relaxed edge. Part of that must be credited to Mindy Bauer's vocals. She makes you feel warm and comfortable, then drags you in and wraps you in a blanket of music. "Issac Was Here" is a ska-punk track led by very punkish vocals. The versus are nicely drawn with some heavy ska, while the choruses bang at your head with screaming guitars and a full on punk assault. "Frenzy" takes it down a notch and keeps you skanking. The guitars are clean and danceable, the vocals are lighter, but still keep an edge, while the percussion and bass build and hold the song together perfectly. "Hooray For You" starts it off with a song very common to every ballpark across America, and then they throw the ska you crave right into your face. The song has a very rough edge, but when the female vocals are added, the song has a very comfortable feeling to it. "It's Time" is a tropical ska delight. The melody will help you find yourself on the shores of a tropic island, while the female vocals will help the sun rise. Add an umbrella, and don't forget the sun tan, and you have a perfect vacation swimming around in your mind. But you don't look at it that way, you look at it as the song is your connection to the warm sand crawling up your feet. Many good times will be had during this song, and due to this song. "Granola Song" quickly removes all images of a tropical island from your head, and quickly places you in a mosh pit. The guitars are heavily distorted and loud, while the percussion is beating a mile a minute. The vocals are running their way through the song (male and female), and the bass is grabbing everything and pulling it together. A very powerful, hard edged song. The only comfort you will find in this song is the organ in the background. Don't worry about it, just go with the flow, and rock out. "North Main" closes out the CD with a fury. Punk riffs start us off, and then some danceable beats are mixed in. The punk comes back in full swing, and stays present throughout the song. Ska licks are thrown back into the mix, so you'll find times to dance and slam dance. I prefer their up tempo ska licks, but these guys can also kick out original ska-punk that avoids all generalizations. Whatever you want these guys to do, they will do it with passion and fun. From third wave ska to ska-punk to straight forward punk rock, this is a group that will bring you hours of fun. Get this CD today, and if you can't find it at your local indie store, visit Raj Records Online and order it today! A definite A!
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