Skavoovie & the Epitones

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Ripe Review

by Rick Anderson

Skavoovie and the Epitones are a ten-piece ska band that writes amazingly mature music for a group so young. On the cover of their debut, not a single member looked like a high school graduate, and yet the charts they wrote were intelligent as well as fun and energetic. Unfortunately, at that time there did not seem to be a single decent soloist within the ranks of the Epitones -- brilliant ensemble sections frequently segu├ęd into long, aimless solos. With Ripe, the band members are showing signs of significant individual development, without having sacrificed the group's astounding ensemble dynamic. They've got the guts to cover Duke Ellington (and pull it off beautifully); they strike a Perryesque pose on the apocalyptic "The Plague," and even demonstrate a Jamaica/Balkans connection on "Latvian Lullaby." And yes, that's Monster Mike Welch playing scorching blues licks behind "Drunk." Excellent.

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