Tomorrow the World

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This infuriatingly entertaining band defies labeling. Every time you think you've got them stylistically pinned down, Greenhouse sprout up with another genre and throw your tags to the wind. With the opening "Too Late" you'll think you've got them pegged -- ah ha, another ska-jazz aggregate, and "Bocce Ball" reinforces that impression with its jazzy delivery wrapped in a somber Specials-esque aura. But then the band mixes up its jazz style with the bluesy swing of "Women Around the Corner," which immediately slides into the soulful jazzy blues of "Siddartha's Cure," at least until the tempo flames up into hyperdrive, and then powers out with the exuberant, infectious swing of "Super Trendy Retro World." So ska-jazz doesn't quite work -- let's try again. There's no doubt that the Skatalites' own jazz-drenched sound is an influence, but Tommy McCook's post-'lites Supersonics are equally so, as evidenced by the Latin-tinged "Love Noise," where Greenhouse's Supersonics-esque sound reaches hyperspeed. They then slow it down to half speed for the "Save the Last Dance for Me"-ish "Fire Escape," and finally take the styling to a state of utter abandon on the fiesta-fired "Skarazy," a Cinco de Mayo gala that keeps inexplicably stumbling into a skinhead mosh pit. So much for Latin ska then, and besides, that still leaves the oh so Beat-esque "Palabras" out in the cold, along with the Screeching Weasel sound-alike "Sterile" and the Noise cover. But for all the stylistic shifts and turns, Greenhouse have created out of this mishmash a wonderfully distinctive sound all their own, wrapped in superb melodies, excellent lyrics, and phenomenal musicianship. Tomorrow the world? Too late, it's already their oyster.

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