So Big D and the Kids Table released a new album last week, "Fluent in Stroll." I've grown up with this band, more or less, for the past eight years. They were the last band I saw before leaving home for college and have seen them a handful of times since, including one time sharing a beer with the lead singer. I have grown to love their blend of soulful ska and aggressive punk. Their albums always struck me as an interesting balance between the two, but their last effort, "Strictly Rude," struck me as a far more mature and groove based record. The snarling punk licks were still there, but there were far more dance numbers and lyrically driven rhythmic songs focused on intertwining vocal and horn lines. Even so, the ethos and chugging style of punk still existed on the record.
That driving force is hidden so well on FiS, that it might as well be gone.
And the record is phenomenal.
This record takes that ska sound and blends it with blues, rock, and soul, and creates something which is incredibly easy on the ears, yet has a depth of sound that was only hinted at before. Fans wanted them to go in the direction of "LAX"- the band chose "Chicago." Dave McWane has learned how to meld his distinct vocals with the band and wind the two together so that they compliment each other, as they did on "The One" from "Strictly Rude."
The backup singers add another layer to this record, which is already deceptively complex. Of course, this is coming from the perspective of a dedicated punk rock enthusiast, so anything more complex than a 1-5-6-4 major scale progression is going to knock my socks clean off.
That is not to say the record does not have some shortcomings. Sometimes the lead vocals get a bit too jokey, and you really want another lick here or there in certain songs. The Euro accent lady becomes slightly grating after a while, but is tolerable. Also, the record is missing one balls out rocker, and rather focuses on nice, easy danceable rhythms. I would have liked a mosher, but I'll setle for now.
But I think that this record has a lot to offer. The lyrics are simple, yet poignant and smart, the musicianship and orchestration is better than anything Big D has done before, and shows a growth in a direction I was not expecting. On top of everything else, it is an incredibly fun listen that I can see enjoying as I sit on a porch with friends, knocking back whiskey and beer.
"Daylight's for recover
Walking home's a misery"
Big D and the Kids Table - A Kiss A Week