Right On Time (Hellcat Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Hepcat is traditional ska in every sense of the word. With influences like Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, and The Skatalites they reach deep into the Jamaican culture and bring out jazzy, soulful rich ska that is sure to please every lover of the traditional style. And with their third full-length on the up and coming Hellcat label (A subsidiary of Epitaph Records), they may prove to be the first traditional ska band to break out over the air waves in the current ska blitz.
RIGHT ON TIME starts off with Greg Lee's (vocals) dad talking about how great Hepcat is, and how they should go all the way, on the title track. "I Can't Wait" starts off the music. The horn lines are soulful, like a blast of sunshine through the music. The vocals are smooth, helping to bring the song to the highest plateau possible. The percussion is very Caribbean, giving the song the warm, Jamaican feel that brings so much love to the listener. The bass is tight, giving the song great texture. The guitar brings us the mood, giving us the fiery upbeat that will burn your feet unless you get up and move. Everything falls into place, kicking the album off with a great start. "The Secret" is a smooth, soulful number that runs straight to the heart. The guitar shoots its upbeat all through the song, giving your feet the food it needs to dance. The bass slides around the song, helping to keep everything together. All the while the drums keep everything soft and full of love, giving off a heavy bite of Caribbean feeling. The vocals also give off a great touch of the Caribbean with their heavily influenced Jamaican flow to them. The music is soft and breezy, and full of love. The perfect music to dance to with a lover. "No Worries" keeps the hits coming, and the fun flowing. The horns are right on target, getting their energetic feeling out in the open. Soothing over your soul, they bring even more love into the music. Happy and cheerful, you can't help but just want to move with this song (and all the others.) As the song suggests, when you listen to this you'll have "no worries." All troubles and depression fly's away, and you're just left with a good time. "Rudies All Around" has a heavy Jamaican vibe, from the music to the vocals, and you can't help but dream about sipping a tropical beverage on a beautiful island, while sitting back and blasting this CD on your stereo. A vacation via your stereo, helping the stress to just flow right out your body. "Open Season...Is Closed" closes out the CD. The song is in the smooth, heavily Caribbean feel that you'll come to expect from all of Hepcat's great tracks on this disc, but this distinguishes itself from the others in one respect...it's a shot at the East Coast ska act, the Stubborn All-Stars. But mostly a shot at the man behind the Stubborn All-Stars, Django. Whether or not it's a playful stab or a feud they're trying to start with him, they do take a shot at him. But hey, "no worries," right? This song is just as good as the others, and will get you dancin' and feeling as good as the others do.
Hepcat is one of the hottest ska bands at the moment, and this CD proves it. Give it a few months, and people will be talking about this album whenever ska is mentioned. These guys have a tremendous talent to take the traditional style of the past and keep it authentic in the 90's. This disc is in the running for one of the best ska albums of 1998, so get it now! This album is flat out amazing. A definite A+.
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