by Zebra USER (177 Reviews)
September 29th, 2005 | 2 replies

Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Hepcat has been around since 1994 and they have released a total of four albums. I own all of there albums and this is my second favorite of theres behind there masterpiece "Right On Time." If I had to compare Hepcat to one other band they would have to be the Specials. Hepcat plays tradiotional ska music or reggae. They have a great horn section and they play very soothing music. If you are a ska fan than this is a must.

Members : Deston Berry
Alex Desert
Greg Lee
Greg Narvas
Efren Santana
Kincaid Smith
Aaron Owens
Dave Fuentes

If Hepcat sounds like anyone they sound like Bob Marley with a horn section. Deston's vocals are smooth and relaxing and the horn section is incredible. The reggae is amazing and Hepcat won't exactly get you dancing, but they will get you swaying back and forth. Now I will admit a lot of trad ska can sound the same but Hepcat mixes it up quite frequently in "Scientific." They manage to sneek in three instrumentals "Dollar Dance" "Solo" and the jazzy "Yoka Zuna." The music is relaxing, soothing, mellow, and laid-back. Hepcat isn't like Catch 22, Reel Big Fish, or Less Tnan Jake, they have a reggae-ish sound and they have a more chill out feel to them. If you like to sit back and relax then this is for you. You won't find any quick guitar riffs and punk vocals, Hepcat plays ska just like it was played 40 years ago. Hepcat plays fairly simple music and they don't cram in the horns when unnessicary, they play them in the perfect spots. Once again if you want some good ska/dub/reggae music Hepcat is probably the best band you can pick.

Now Hepcat is not strickly trad ska. They expirement with dub on "Keep On" and "Come Out." "Anita Hill" features the best horn lines off the whole album and it might actually get you dancing. While "Yoka Zuna" and "Home" have more of a jazzy feel to it. Hepcat works for those who are ska purists or for those who just want to sit back and relax. If you really pay attention to the music and know your ska then you will be able to figure out how Hepcat expirements with other genres. If you arn't a ska purist and just want something to chill out to then this is also an excellent album. I also must warn those who don't like horn solo's. There are a lot of horn solo's on this album in songs like "Solo" "The Fool" "Relation" and in all of the instrumentals. If you get bored with music quickly and you need something faster pace then you might not want this.

By incorporating other instruments into there music such as pianos, dub effects, and bass, Hepcat makes there music unique and not enonymous. After "Dollar Dance" there is a brief radio session that lasts for about one minute long. It sort of divides the album up into to halves and gives you a break from the ordinary. "Clarence" also keeps things from being enonymous, it has a man talking to a women in a restraunt and it is almost like a mini-play. I have to admit when I first heard this album I wasn't too impressed, but after listening to it has really grown on me. The horns seem sharper every time I listen to this. The vocals are another high point of the album. They are smooth and very mellow, it fits perfectly with the music and gives it more of a reggae feel. Hepcat is a very talented band and they are good for almost any listener.

Even though this is an excellent album it does have it's downsides. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to relax and if I want something upbeat than I really can't count on this album. Somtimes if I'm not paying attention to the music I just get bored of it and I can't sit through all of it. Those are the only reasons that I can think of not to like this album, the horns are sharp, the vocals are smooth and the music is just completely mellow and chilled out. Hepcat are really impressive in this album and it just gets more amazing every time I listen to it.

I would recomend Hepcat to fans of ska, reggae, and even dub. Hepcat makes great mellow, relaxing, joyful, ska music that almost anyone can enjoy. I don't see how you can hate Hepcat because there music is so upbeat and soothing that it is hard for someone to dispise it. Throughout all of the horn solos and great reggae-ish vocals almost any listener should be impressed. If you have listened to ska before and haven't liked it then you should give Hepcat a shot because IMO they are one of the most talented traditional ska or reggae bands out there. Once again the horn lines are sharp and the vocals are amazing. "Scientific" a great ska record and can be enjoyed by almost anyone.

Overall Rating : 4/5

Amazing horn solos
Instrumentals "Dollar Dance", "Yoka Zuna", and "Solo"
Very soothing and relaxing

Some listeners may get bored
Some listeners may not like all of the horn solos

Recomended tracks :
"Bobby & Joey"
"Anita Hill"
"Come Out"
"Yoka Zuna"

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 6th 2006


Good review, I always love hepcat's work on hellcat records, but I havnt got any full length of thiers yet.

October 22nd 2006


Actually, Bob Marley started off singing ska music, with the Skatalites as his backing band. This band certainly gets anyone to dance, just not those nutty slam antics you'll see at a RBF show.

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