Thursday, April 7, 2011
Random Hand - Seething Is Believing
Hopefully this is the last ska band I review until my friend Luke's (bear's brother) mostly-solo EP is released. I think I chose a good ska band for this one. Random Hand's new album "Seething Is Believing" is the best thing to come out of England since "The Chameleon Script" by that one band that doesn't matter anymore, Howard Alias. (Note to reader: Go listen to The Chameleon Script.) What else can I say? They play ska. They play it in the style of bands from Community Records, for the most part. There's elements of punk, hardcore, metal, dub, trad ska, and whatnot. It's all good in the proverbial hood.
The album starts off with horns-a-blazin' on the starter track "Tales of Intervention". The hornline conveys a mysterious atmosphere, like it takes place at a masquerade where somebody is killing everyone off whenever the lights flicker, but nobody's sure who it is. This gypsyesque song is complemented by some heavy vocals in the vein of Boofish and that guy from Stuck Lucky. The second song the band suddenly becomes the Cro-Mags or the International Superheroes of Hardcore, before they remember they're a ska band for a few seconds at a time.
This album sounds pretty powerful overall, whether it's showing proper horn focus or it's just metal time in suburbia. The horn lines are really nice and executed well, and the thing with ska band that involve horns, is that nothing else in the music hardly matters once you break through the horns and the vocals. The instrumentals are on par, but this isn't Fatter Than Albert or anything, so don't expect much. Could they stand on their own without horns and with a singer with a less original sounding voice? Probably, but I wouldn't care to listen to it. The horns add a nice change-up from the ordinary, and I guess that's the whole point of there still being ska bands. I mean, after all of our shows people are usually like, "a trombone? what?"
There's not too much variation from the two styles I pointed out for these songs up until the song "Floating Ghosts", which has pretty interesting instrumentals, other than just the horns. The backup vocals are also pretty cool, while there is pretty often somebody singing under the lead singer, there's also some woahs going down. This song demonstrates the absolute power a ska band can achieve and does it well. It's a good time, despite the bass tone being lackluster. Why can't every album have the same bass as The Fad's Kill Punk Rock Stars?
"Bones" is the first song to stick mostly to the ska script as far as guitar is concerned, while the vocals represent something closer to street punk. It's good that they don't do the same thing all the time, which is like the gun to the head of ska artists.
"Start the Fans" makes me realize that I really like the drumming for this album, along with the horn work. This song heavily reminds me of Detonate, and now I really miss Detonate. Thanks, guys :( It's followed by what can be described simply as a hardcore punk song and not much more. It's good and stuff.
"It sounded like the beginning Woah-Oh by Forever the Sickest Kids" said the hipster next to me. What? She was talking about the "Henchmen" song.
The album ends with a ska song, "42 Days Off the Records", and this song actually has other ska elements involved that haven't been for the rest of it. Mainly the basslines from the lame bass tone. I like pretty much every song on this album, but I don't think I'm going to go any further with getting into this band. I actually used to listen to their other albums back in the day (a year or so ago), and it's all good stuff. If you're into ska, then give them a chance. Also hit up Do It With Malice...everyone's been talking about them recently.