Feel the Vibe

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Upground offer an able if unremarkable stew of ska-rock on Feel the Vibe, also drawing from Latin music (to the point of singing a few songs in Spanish), funk, reggae toasting, (lightly) dub, and (very lightly) jazz. As on so many records of this type, there's an upbeat party-hard flavor that sometimes borders on the speakeasy-ish, though it's not quite as party-til-you-drop as many such efforts are. The songs are less impressive as compositions than as vehicles for the bandmembers' considerable skills as instrumentalists and fusers of different styles, which sometimes make them sound like a blend of the Average White Band and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, though with more ska in the mix than either of those acts featured. That's mostly on the funkier tunes with horns, however; they sometimes tilt in a much more pronounced reggae or Latin direction, giving the impression they could fill out sets exclusively devoted to one or the other of the musics from which they draw if they so desired.

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