Step Lively

The Trigger Effect

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Several things divide the worthwhile from the mediocre when it comes to ska-punk. A good horn section, a decent singer, an acquaintance with more than two chords -- all of these indicate a band with more going for it than the simple ability to comp on the offbeat. Too many groups on the skacore scene are operating without any of those qualifications. But Step Lively have done their homework, and the evidence of that work is clear on their debut album. Everything is in place: a tight and substantial horn section, a good (if not awe-inspiring) singer, and, most importantly, tunes you're likely to remember supported by chord progressions that draw you in. The guitars are big and crunchy on "Price I Pay" and the synth is reminiscent of the Cars on "Give You Up"; the horns really shine on the swinging "Parker's Last Stand." There are a couple of nice cameo appearances, one by Jeff "King Django" Baker, who toasts up a storm on "Scorpio's Revenge." Recommended.

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