Catch 22
Keasbey Nights


5.0
classic

Review

by zach USER (27 Reviews)
October 13th, 2006 | 357 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


When most people hear of ska, they think of it as watered down punk. With this thought, they are not far off. Most ska consists of the usual punk lyrics of apathy and whatnot. Though, contrary to what anybody would ever think to find in a punk band, a horn section is included. Because of this stereotype, few people take ska seriously, but if they were to listen to Keasbey Nights by Catch 22 (or any Tomas Kalnoky project for that matter), they may give a second thought to this inclination.

Tomas Kalnoky, the lead singer/lyricist/guitarist of Catch 22 for this album was born in Prague before moving to Greece and then America at the age of four. He grew up in the lower class suburb of Keasbey, New Jersey. It’s evident that growing up in this lower class had a great influence on Kalnoky’s writing style. Most songs are about Kalnoky’s friends, or lack thereof. These influences mixed with ability to write a catchy-as-hell chorus make Keasbey one of the top lyrical masterpieces of the ska genre.

It’s quite a contrast to hear Kalnoky’s somewhat-melancholy lyrics sung to the fast paced music played by his band. One great example of this is the chorus of the title track. The song is about getting caught up with the wrong people and facing the consequences of making them mad. Kalnoky sings:

“When they come for me/I’ll be sitting at my desk/With a gun in my hand/Wearing a bulletproof vest/Singing ‘My my my/How the time does fly/When you know you’re going to die/By the end of the night’”

Despite hearing him (and the rest of the band shouting in the background) sing about death, the listener can’t help but feel the desire to dance and sing along. Likewise, Dear Sergio is premier opener musically, also making you want to get up and dance, but a glance at the lyrics make it seem like a third-person view of Keasbey Nights.

Kalnoky also writes some great lyrics about being true to oneself and being an outcast. One example is in Day In Day Out where he sings:

“In my room with a bucket full of phlegm/I don't need a music scene to tell me who I am”

Also in Giving Up Giving In Kalnoky sings about being an outcast, opening the song with:

“I got no cash/I got no girl/but I got the world in the palm in my hand”

Another song devoted to this theme is This One Goes Out to… where Kalnoky sings about experiences with his small group of friends in the inner city and wishing he had more true friends.

But, enough about the lyrics now, they are not the only thing that make this album a classic. Each member of Catch 22 is a very talented musician, and each one of them intends to let the listener know this. The bass lines are very creative. It sometimes seems that bassist Josh Ansley may have just improvised as the bass lines are all over the place and seem that it may have been hard to remember. One of the best bass lines can be found on Walking Away. The song opens with some splashy cymbals, until the Ansley comes in with a jazzy bass and the horns soon join playing the same thing as the bass.

The drummer, Chris Greer, is also very talented, always keeping pace with the band no matter how fast they play, however, I feel sometimes he may just go a little to fast for the rest of the band and perhaps turn a song that would be better off as a slow song and turns it into another high octane ska song.

Throughout the album, Kalnoky really plays second fiddle on his guitar, never really showcasing his ability, but supporting the rhythm and horn section, which consists of Kevin Gunther on trumpet, Ryan Eldred on saxophone, and Jamie Egan on trombone, flute, French horn, and Irish tin whistle. Often, when it would seem a good time for a guitar solo, Kalnoky opts for the horn section to play it instead. When this happens they do a great job switching off parts and really working as a team to create a beautiful solo. A prime example of this is on the track Kristina She Don’t Know I Exist. It is a great lyrical song that really anybody can relate to, but when each member of the band shows off their talents with their own respective solo it turns it into one of the most beautiful songs on the album.

The production of the album is really hit or miss. You will either love it to death or hate it with a passion. Often a song will start or end with someone yelling something unrelated to the song. Day In Day Out opens up with someone yelling “1, 2, 3, REHHHH” (or a noise along those lines) and the rest of the band joins in with what sounds like off-key yodeling. At the end of Keasbey Nights the band can be heard congratulating each other in the glory of creating a masterpiece. Contrary to this, at the end of 9mm And A Three Piece Suit someone can be heard yelling “That was horrible. I can’t hear anything.” And with the closer 12341234 the band extends the song 3 minutes to give thanks to all that have helped them on their path to their creation of the album.

It’s the mix of all of these elements that make Catch 22’s Keasbey Nights an essential listen to any fan of punk or ska, or truly any genre. It truly grasps the feelings of a bunch of lower class teenagers and gives you a catchy, danceable beat to listen to, giving it a different perspective from what has already been done over and over again, easily making it a classic album with a 5/5

Pros
-each member is a great musician
-Kalnoky is a great writer, especially when it comes to choruses
-will easily cheer you up when you are sad

Cons
-a couple songs are killed by distortion and heavy drumming

Recommended Tracks
-Keasbey Nights
-Dear Sergio
-Kristina She Don’t Know I Exist



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user ratings (537)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
Dan Stalcup (5)
Keasbey Night is a universal, powerful piece not to be missed by any fans of music. It's a rare ska...

(5)
Keasbey Nights is a snapshot of a group of guys who just wanted to have fun and write good music and...

Kithkin (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
nick962
October 13th 2006


377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. This is one of my all time favourite ska albums; although I never quite knew how to spell it, 'Keasbey' or 'Keasby' (I think it's Keasbey) haha. Whatever, good review for an excellent album.

If anyone is looking for better quality, the Streetlight Manifesto (another Kalnoky fronted project) covered the whole CD, and has very clear production.

iarescientists
October 13th 2006


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's Keasbey. The site has it as Keasby, and I'm not sure how to change it, so if a mod looks at this, please change it to Keasbey.

I've only heard samples of the SM version, but from what I have heard, I really don't like it that much. I think the production is really what puts this album over the edge to become classic. I don't know why, it's just something about me.



The Jungler
October 13th 2006


4827 Comments


Good review, I hate ska though.

Hatshepsut
October 13th 2006


1997 Comments


I like ska. Like the Aquabats. And Reel Big Fish. Good review. I win.

Pyramidman
October 13th 2006


1340 Comments


Streetlight Manifesto (another Kalnoky fronted project)


SM isnt a project, its his new band


this CD got me into ska
good review
This Message Edited On 10.13.06

iarescientists
October 13th 2006


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hate ska though


That was my mindset, before listening to this album. However, last year all of my friends were going to a huge ska blowout with Catch 22 headlining. Since it was a chance to hang out with all of them I decided to go and get this CD just to see what it's all about, and you know the rest from my review.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 13th 2006


3771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review man - this is one of my all time favroute ska CDs.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

MrKite
October 14th 2006


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review. i like some ska i dont know a lot though, but i dont like the horns in it.This Message Edited On 09.05.07

Zebra
Moderator
October 14th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=The Jungler]Good review, I hate ska though.[/quote] Even if you hate the genre I'm still going to recommend this album to you. It's not the best 3rd wave ska album of the 90's but it's still pretty damn good.


Zesty Mordant
October 14th 2006


1196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review, this album ain't bad, but I like SM's version of it better. The horns are a lot tighter and the production really makes the songs stand out more.

Intransit
October 16th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The re-release, and Streetlight Manifesto in general are better than this album, but excellent review. The Angsty lyrics kind of turn me off.

Activista anti-MTV
October 17th 2006


3146 Comments


Good review, clear and concise.

Catchthe22
October 28th 2006


95 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review, from someone who isnt a big fan of ska. Didnt like the recommendations but that is just me being a stickler.

iarescientists
October 28th 2006


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I normally find when I try to make recommendations that I don't really have an ear to compare music, so I just played it safe with those. I don't really make recommendations when I write reviews anymore.

MrKite
December 22nd 2006


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just downloaded some songs by this band, who you reccomended to me. I really like Dear Sergio and 9mm...
I'm definitly getting this soon. I just realized that all the songs I downloaded were off this.This Message Edited On 12.22.06

iarescientists
December 22nd 2006


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, everything by this band doesn't have Tomas Kalnoky writing the songs, therefore, they suck and have to resort to concept albums to sound relevent.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 23rd 2006


2710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What the hell is that supposed to mean? I thought Kalnoky wrote all of this album?

iarescientists
December 23rd 2006


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I meant other Catch 22 albums.

He writes all of Keasbey Nights, but then he left.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 23rd 2006


2710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh. Thanks for the clarification, I'm easily confused.

MrKite
December 23rd 2006


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lol^.
I wish your last name was Smith, iare.
I downloaded some of the songs and I have decided that I need this. I didn't expect to like it so much.



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