Easy Big Fella

Eat at Joey's

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

After two fine albums on local indies, Easy Big Fella matured into a superb aggregate, whose exceptional musicianship is equalled by their excellent songwriting and arrangements, and having signed a deal with Moon Ska, the Seattle group offer up the inspired Eat at Joey's. So dig in, you'll enjoy every course on this 13-track platter. The higher production values within give this album a bigger, smoother sound than earlier ones, while also better showcasing the individual musicians and the songs' instrumentation. Check out the rumbling drums cascading across the opening of "We Don't Have to Go Now" or the bright and bouncy keyboards on "Come Back to Me" for aural proof. And production matters for a group as emotionally and atmospherically nuanced as EBF. They pack a wallop on "Tie Me Up and Leave Me," an upbeat number that still swoons in an atmosphere heavy with yearning, regret, and cut by slivers of optimism. Even the poppy reggae of the aforementioned "Come Back" is inflected with a mournful undercurrent that dovetails perfectly with the love fighting to overcome hefty obstacles lyrics. The atmosphere is thickest, however, on the two instrumentals, the moody "Picture Show" and roots reggae-esque "Joey & Ranma," both highlighting the superb jazzy brass. EBF are equally adept at swing, with one of their best, the high stepping "Found Love," opening the set. Equally extraordinary is "Locked in the Chapel of Love," reggae- fied doo wop that throws the band's smooth, soulful vocals into the limelight. Their fabulous cover of "Rude Boy" even bests Bunny Livingston's Studio One original, although Wailers' fans will never admit to that. So whatever your dinner plans, drop by Joey's for this sensational album from a talented band, and enjoy.

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