Catch 22
Keasbey Nights


5.0
classic

Review

by Dan Stalcup USER (12 Reviews)
June 4th, 2008 | 9 replies | 1,780 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Keasbey Night is a universal, powerful piece not to be missed by any fans of music. It's a rare ska album that transcends the genre and is great on its own.

It’s tough to be a fan of ska music. On the one hand there are the critics, who rip the party-fueled genre of ska - a term for a brassy, syncopated, hooky style of music - as inane and insubstantial. On the other hand, there are the hardcore “skanks” who will overwhelm you and scare you away from the genre with their near-violent dedication and appreciation. Especially if you see them at a concert.

And yet, trapped between these two extremes are a few really good bands and albums. Good, heartfelt, powerful music is universal. Regardless of your views towards the genre, there is some ska that should earn your respect on its own terms.

Catch 22’s debut, Keasbey Nights, is an example of music that you should not judge based on the movement it is a part of, but as a collection of excellent songs presented with tremendous impact. Give the album a chance, a few listens, and you’ll find a mesmerizing album.

From beginning to end, Keasbey Nights is a provoking look at troubled adolescence. Tomas Kalnoky, the primary songwriter on the album, comes across as a bright kid who can't understand why he’s depressed. Each song here is a bit of perspective into Kalonky's world and mind. From this comes violence, loneliness, bitterness, vulnerability, and more.

To back up this introspection is instantly memorable music. The band has no hesitation to layer catchy hook upon catchy hook. There is no inhibition and self-consciousness; you can tell each member of the band puts their all into every song. And yet, each song is paced and carefully planned. Once the groundwork is laid, the band goes nuts with it. The fast and loud parts are relentless, the slow and quiet parts are tender.

All of this is good in theory, but would be nothing without good songs to back it up. Fortunately, Keasbey Nights shines here, too: nearly every track is a bit of brutal honesty set to high-energy melodies. The title track is the most famous track, and reasonably so. The contemplation of self-inflicted violence has a chorus that will be in your head for months. Nothing is filler, though: Supernothing is masterful self-deprecation, Riding the Fourth Wave is a nice improv number, Day In Day Out a bitter cry of independence, etc.

The real cornerstone of the album is the final track, “1234 1234.” A line like “There’s more to you, there’s more to life, there’s more than meets the eye” might feel cliche on a lesser album. With the thirteen tracks that precede it, though, it’s instead an insight. Furthermore, the riff from “1234 1234″ is emblematic of the irresistible hooks that fill this album.

If you insist upon viewing the album through genres, you’ll see a lot of ska and punk (with bits of jazz and Latin). The variety works well: the sound is never as grating as punk, nor as subdued as the old reggae ska. The solos, while solid, aren't virtuosic. They nonetheless give the album a spontaneous feel.

Ultimately, the pieces of Keasbey Night come together to form an outstanding album. Good music needs an emotional core to give it substance, and heartfelt lyrics need strong music to make them memorable. Keasbey Nights does this with skill.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Intransit
June 5th 2008



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review for your first.

I think this album is super overrated though. In 1998, sure it was great, and probably one of the best. However 10 years later it just doesn't hold up.

Oblivioncry
June 5th 2008



601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review,

@intransit: doesnt hold up to what?

gaber01
June 5th 2008



112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really addicting album, good review. POS'D

Willie
Moderator
June 5th 2008



15897 Comments


Buck O Nine and the occasional Mighty Mighty Bosstones song is as close as I really got to this genre of music. Definitely a good first review.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

SynGates
June 5th 2008



2467 Comments


good first review. This album is a ska classic, even if it can't hold up to the likes of Streetlight.

timothyzha
June 5th 2008



23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

really great album. a lot of good tracks, and very good review too.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
June 5th 2008



3765 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wonderful album, and a great first review as well.

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

slep
June 5th 2008



1604 Comments


Excellent for a first review. This is, in my opinion, the best ska album ever.

tom79
June 5th 2008



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good first review, I agree.

Digging: David Dondero - South of the South



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