Skavoovie & the Epitones

Fat Footin'

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Skavoovie & the Epitones' Moon Ska debut is an auspicious one, even if it shows that the band has some room for growth. Their strengths are several: a drummer who sounds like he has a Ph.D. from "Rock Steady University," a large and tight horn section, and an uncommon facility with punchy tunes and attractive arrangements. "Cat Juice" features a head the Skatalites would have killed for, and "Sonic Boom" is the ska catch phrase of the decade. There's also a fun arrangement of "Solomon Gundy." The band does, however, have a couple of significant weaknesses as well. Unfortunately, they tend to fall flat (literally) in the vocals department. The band members seem to sense this, and focus, wisely, on instrumentals; the problem there is the lack of any distinguished soloists in the band. Every track opens with a bouncy, waist-winding groove and a brilliant head played with elegant energy, but then the solos start and you stop paying much attention because there's not much to hear. Then the out-chorus catches your ear again in time to catch the next song, and the process repeats itself. It's not the most satisfying listening experience; still, this album gives the band a solid foundation on which to build.

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