At Ease (Hellcat Records)
By: Alex Steininger
The Gadjits are comprised of three brothers, and an additional person on the keyboards. Blending a strong pop sensation with their ska, they write about what they know about: love, angst, jealousy, traffic tickets, and humor. With the average age of the band members being 17, it is awfully easy to disregard them as another kiddie band. But if you were to do that you'd be making a horrible mistake. They write catchy hooks blended with danceable melodies, which all equates to a good time. Their second full-length, AT EASE, was even produced by their hero, and label president, Tim Armstrong (Rancid). With a mastermind like Tim Armstrong looking over them, you knew the outcome would be sweet.
The CD grabs you from the beginning with an infectious number by the name of "Bullet in the Mattress." It's pop hooks and humorous lyrics will get you singing along while you bounce around the room. The upbeat is strong enough to get you dancing, which is inevitable. The keyboards help to reinforce the pop sensation to the song, and the bass helps to give the song depth. The drums are light and fluffy, giving off a bit of Caribbean feeling during parts, but they also can get louder when they want. When they need to, they reinforce the chorus with great strength. The verses are strongly written, but the chorus is the nail in the coffin. Once it hits, it's all over. You'll be hooked. "Tell Yourself" is the perfect blend of ska and pop. The verses are very infectious, getting you to sing along from the first word until the last. And if the verses weren't addictive enough, the chorus is once again stronger than cement. It sticks to you and stays with you for days. As it rattles around in your head, you keep singing along with it as if you need another fix. You quickly run to the nearest CD player and pop it in, relieved that you can finally hear it again. "Traffic Tickets" is a number for everyone. If you haven't gotten a traffic ticket you're either a female (just kidding...they do, however, have the best luck with tickets), or a very lucky person. Obviously Brandon Phillips, 19, has had the tickets thrown at him. And this is his song, universal in theme, that he wants to reach out and share with everyone. The bass kicks through this song, demanding attention and getting it. Driving its spikes in the music, it pulsates through the song, beating ferociously. The drums jump from soft taps to medium strengthen attacks on the kit. The guitar leads the song, jumping from the upbeat that results in you dancing, to pop hooks that melt you like butter. Pop-ska perfection, and once you experience it, there's no turning back. "Party Girl" has to be my favorite track on the album. This song could be about anyone, because there is one of these girls everywhere. The girl that wants to be everything, the life of the party, and the most popular girl in school. She demands all the attention, but goes about getting it the wrong way. The topic is so universal, everyone will be able to relate to it, but that's not the reason this song is one of the top album stand-outs. The reason this song is so hot is because of its infectious-ness. The keyboards are hot, giving the song a great flavor, and adding a lot of depth. The guitar tells the story with a hot upbeat, almost impossible to resist. The song is a head on attack of danceable rhythms, and catchy melodies. Sing along while you give your feet a workout. This song has the ability to burn its place into commercial radio, and could be a future number one hit. "Beautiful Girl" closes out the CD with more of the Gadjits trademarked pop-ska mayhem.
The Gadjits will be huge soon, take my word on that. They write very infectious pop songs, and combine a great deal of ska with it. The outcome is a hot, danceable style that will get you movin' and singing all the way through. You won't be able to resist, because the music will take control of you. And to think, the first few times I heard this album I thought it was boring. What was I thinking? A definite A. Get this album before everyone and their grandmother owns it.
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