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Now Hear This: Rotate - Umbrella Bed

Rating: ****

SKA has never really been my thing. I mean I can appreciate the greats of the genre, but generally speaking it's never really done much for me.

Umbrella Bed is a SKA band and they have a new album out and I'm now faced with the duty of coming in an objectively reviewing it despite not being a fan of the genre. This happens sometimes and I'm usually pretty good at disconnecting my preconceived notions and just diving in with an open mind and open heart.

So here we go. Let us listen to "Rotate". My thoughts below.

Watch the music video for "Always on the Rebound" on Youtube here:

Title track "Rotate" leads us off. The vocals are nerdy so that makes me like it right off the bat. Sometimes SKA band vocalists think they're a little too tight for my liking. Solid first track and I'm pleasantly surprised. "Say Your Goodbyes" is another fine track. I like how well the band sets a mood. It's not all go-go-go, it's more nuanced and I connect to it a lot more that way. "Dark Days" is next and it's very radio-friendly. Reminds me of Madness. I'm really digging this record. "These Final Days" is track four and it's got such a great horn intro. These guys are like the Specials meet They Might Be Giants. "Just Tell Me What To Do" is more of a rocker and it's a dope change in pace. Maybe I DO like SKA. Next is "Strange Conviction" and it's more traditional. Not to say that it's bad, it just seems like I've heard it before. "Always on the Rebound" is a strange and awesome track with my favorite chorus of the entire LP. "3-Twenty Seven" is sadly the last track of the album and it's a good one. Melodic and methodical, it almost feels like the band is setting sail to a far-away land.

I didn't come into this record thinking that it would be the one to make me like SKA music but here we are. I really loved it, which means fans of the genre are going to lose their shit over it.

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