the New Album From raj
Music Review: 12
By Andrew Nolan
Artist: The Offbeatniks
Label: Raj Records
Before this CD came out, I had heard of the Offbeatniks, been to their shows, but I had never really listened to them.
They now have my full and undivided attention.
The Offbeatniks play an interesting form of ska, using veteran Mindy Bauer's carnival-esque organ to provide a playful counterpoint beat.
The songs fall mainly into three categories: Bauer singing, Ben Larson singing, or both singing together. Since Larson has a gruff voice and Bauer's has a lilting, pop-star quality to it, the two together make for a unique harmony which works surprisingly well.
Bauer's songs, such as the pleading "Fly Away," remind me of Gwen Stefani's work with her band No Doubt, but without the ego, quavering vocals and bellybutton which Stefani routinely displays.
But the real kick-ass songs are formed by the punk stylings of Larson. "Take Again" has a vibrant live feel to it, as Larson sounds nearly out of breath during the chorus.
The Offbeatniks clearly demonstrate here that Punch the Clown is not the only ska band Davis has to offer. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Bauer and drummer Rick Rocklewitz play in both bands.
The best song on this well-balanced album is an ode to Larson's hometown of Stockton, "Isaac Was Here." It best encompasses all the power and ska harmony this band has the potential to employ.
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