I, like many people, had noticed Big D and the Kids Table was producing less ska songs on their albums. 'Good Luck' had a lot ska-punk, as well as 'Gypsy Hill'. 'How It Goes' and their split with Brain Failure, however, had minimal ska, and more punk. I was a little disappointed after picking up their other releases (besides 'Beijing to Boston' with Brain Failure, it is outstanding.) I felt they played ska better than punk, and if they wanted to succeed, they should play it, right?
Well, when they announced their new release, 'Strictly Rude', I pre-ordered it quickly. When I received it, I popped it right in my stereo, and waited nervously. I knew that it was supposed to be and album that gets back to their roots, but I was still a little nervous about it.
After the first few tracks, I knew that they had stuck to their word. Nearly every track is all ska. There are many fantastic songs on here that would blow you away. The track 'Try Out Your Voice' is a song that has some heavy traditional ska influences. It is a political song, as the title might suggest. Everything about the song is great. The whole band meshes together to make a great song. The best song on the album is 'Shining On'. Boy, did they write a masterpiece with this song. It is easily the best ska song of 2007. The lyrics are some of Dave's best, and they are extremely happy. To listen to this song and not smile, well, it is not possible. The guitar has some pretty cool riffs, the bass has some nice walking bass lines, and the horns section makes the song instrumentally. Another one of the best songs on here is the title track, 'Strictly Rude'. Dave plays an instrument that is foreign to me, the melodica. It sounds great. The guitar uses the echo effect, which sounds cool as well. The horns make a creepy effect, and the overall song is slow, but fantastic.
'Noise Complaint' was the first song released from the CD. Although most people think the song is fantastic, I can only find one thing great about it, and that is the horns. The three, yes count them, three trombone solos are outrageous. They are fantastic. Besides the horns, the song is nothing special. It becomes annoying hearing the phrase 'Noise Complaint' repeated at least ten times every verse. It is not bad, just a sub-par song. The song 'Hell On Earth' has a one minute acoustic intro that is a nice change of pace, and then goes into a fast punk riff. It sounds like it could be on 'How It Goes.'
Other highlights on the CD are 'Steady Riot', which is the opener, with one of the best bass lines on the CD. It is an upbeat song, a lot faster than the others, and a great chorus. 'Breaking the Bottle' is another different song. Dave's vocals are surprisingly not bad here. The bass is nice, and the overall song is great. Two other songs that stand out are 'Souped-Up Vinyl' and 'Raw Revolution'. They both are catchy, and fun to listen to. 'She Knows Her Way' is awesome, because all of the instruments are on top of their game. 'Relocate the Beat' really shows their old influences. You can hear the traditional ska throughout the song. It sounds like a Specials song
As I brought up in my last Big D and the Kids Table review, people dislike Dave's voice. I suggest picking up this CD, as his vocals are not nearly annoying. His vocals can be annoying on 'Try Out Your Voice', but it does not take away from the song as a whole. There are some problems with this CD though. There is a lot of filler. 'Deadpan', 'Snakebite' and 'Fly Away' could fall into that category. It feels like there are never times where they can get more than two good songs in a row. Right when you find a perfect song, it will be followed but filler. It leaves you wanting more.
Overall, I give the CD a 3.5. Although there is a lot of great ska, some of the songs are filler, and become repetitive. I like the fact that there is less punk, because they ska a lot better. The introduction of two new instruments (Organ and Melodica) to their band is great as well. The traditional ska influences are a nice change. If you are not a fan of ska, this CD won't change your mind on ska. Leave that to Streetlight Manifesto.