Rude One's Money Making Scheme (Sleeping Brotherhood Recordings)
By: Alex Steininger
Judge Roughneck is a six piece ska/reggae band that plays their music with a boost. Speeding things up for the 90's, they put a whole new spin on the third wave ska genre.
The CD kicks off with "Kaveh's Ska Suit," a nice instrumental with the occasional shout. The keys are hot, earning their place in the music. The horns are powerful, packing a nice punch. The drums keep the backbone straight, while the bass jumps through the song with its funky bass lines. The song itself has a nice ska feel at points, while other points it has a reggae ring to it. And then again, in some parts it even gets down and gets funky. "Feelin' Alright" is a very up tempo, bouncy number. Pure third wave ska at its finest. You must dance with this song to experience it. The vocals are strong and clean, which is very important. The vocals also have a very Jamaican feel to them during some parts. "Goombop" starts out pretty weird, with a bunch of drum work. It sounds like a mess, but they soon jump into the goods, and deliver a nice ska/reggae tune. Slow and relaxing, the music gives itself to you and lets you absorb it. The percussion has a definite Jamaican origin to it, and is played quite nice. The horns are mellow, but still make themselves present. The guitar has enough kick in it to get you moving, as does the bass. "Angry Youth" is another very mellow song. The percussion particularly stands out during this song, as it is the most dominant part of the music. Played nicely, it helps keep the song in tact. The keys and the horns play together nicely. The keys give off a very relaxed, laid back attitude while the horns give off a mysterious sense to them. "Rich Girl" is a groove-laced reggae track. The vocals help give off the reggae vibe with their Jamaican accent. "Love and Understanding" is a slow instrumental. The horns are very powerful in this number, taking command with their gentle blows and smooth flow to them. And finally we come to "Yeah Yeah," the final track on this CD. It kicks off with a very catchy bass line that flows through your body and gets you moving from the beginning. Then it cuts in with some medium paced ska, which is very inviting to your feet and the dance floor. It stays this way for a bit, and then the vocals come in. Adding a nice touch to the music, this song makes a great conclusion for the CD.
Judge Roughneck is very relaxing. There are a few tracks on this CD that are fast and will force you to dance, but the majority of the tracks are very laid back and groovy. But they always offer the chance to dance, leaving no one unsatisfied. There are a few times when they fall down and seem to lose focus of the music, but they always pick themselves back up and build the music back up to its strong setting. I'll give this CD a B.
NOTE: If you can't find this CD in your local indie store, you can order it from Rotz Distribution (http://www.rotz.com).