Friday, September 10, 2010

Duff Review: The Beatdown - The Beatdown

Stomp Records

Montreal's The Beatdown offer up a potent blend of punky skinhead reggae, vintage ska, and soul on their excellent self-titled debut (think The Clash meet The Pioneers with King Hammond at the controls). The Beatdown contains a tremendous mix of aggressively upbeat, sing-along-with-the-chorus originals (see the awesome, should be massive hits "It's Alright" or "Tell Me Why"), choice covers (The Temptations' "Get Ready," which takes on an almost menacing edge here, while Delroy Wilson's "I Want Justice" is cheerfully defiant, considering the lyrics; it should be noted that Wilson also recorded "Get Ready" himself), and grooving keyboard-driven instrumentals.

Lyrically, The Beatdown are chiefly concerned about relations with significant others ("One Night," "Let Me Take You Out," "Number," or "Today"), trouble in the streets ("Hooligans"), or standing up for oneself ("Try to take me/take me down/And you'll see what I'm made of," from "Beatdown"). You know, feelings and experiences common to all of us. One of the best cuts ("Tell Me Why") challenges a friend to explain what's causing their depression: "I know you feel like/you only get what you deserve/Your life's a mess/You're nothing but a zero...You've come a long way/Got a lot more to say/Still have a long long way/So you better tell me why/tell me why/You better tell me why." This is music therapy of the best kind.

The Beatdown grew out of Alex Giguere's (vocals, guitar) and Pascal Lesieur's (bass) other dirty reggae group, One Night Band (which is on hiatus?). So the quality control is high here--the songwriting, performances, production, and results are outstanding.

The Beatdown is a record that will pick you up when you're down and fill the dance floor when you put it on--two things you can always count on first-rate music to do. This is definitely an album to add to your collection.

Duff Guide to Ska Grade: A


Kames Jelly said...

I havent had a chance to pick this album up yet, but I've been lookin forward to it since they got started. I can't wait for them to come to NY (Someone book them!)

Unknown said...

This cd as the quality of old vinyl, when you had to think twice before recording, it as homogeneity of style and let emerge a voicing that fells natural. That's the quality you need for repeat listening. You will certainly explore of a new world. Just get it... cause a song is not enough you need the album!!!