For a split second, I felt like I had been transported back to a time of denim on denim and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Ballyhoo!, from Aberdeen, MD, is a band that has been fusing punk, ska, and reggae for nearly the past twenty years. Consisting of Howi Spangler (vocals/guitar), Scott Vandrey (keys), J.R. Gregory (bass), and Donald Spangler (drums), the band started to gain momentum in 2011, when their 4th album, Daydreams, was released under LAW Records, and they appeared at Bamboozle and Vans Warped Tour in 2012. Their newest album, Pineapple Grenade, which came out in the middle of last year, is a step away from the darker tone of Daydreams. In fact, Pineapple Grenade is also far more polished
The album clocks in with just under 15 songs. With such a long album, its not a stretch to believe that there are to be significantly weaker songs than the rest. Surprisingly, I couldn’t pick out a song that falls short against the others. Each song is a gem and explores a different side of the band and their musicality. Fans will enjoy their staying true to the formula that got their attention, but heads will turn when they hear the country-esque, mandolin heavy sounds of “When They Told Me” only to be followed by “Out Of My Mind,” which sounds like something straight off of an early Green Day album. Production plays a key factor in the sound, but the success of the album rides more on the band’s talent than anything, featuring guitar hooks and an impressive precision of drum fills and accents.
The standout track is “Beautiful Day,” which is just as bright and happy as the title suggests. It’s a beautiful day/ feeling the sunshine on my face, the chorus starts and ends the song, reminding us to enjoy the little things in life. Harmonies flow behind the chorus that perfectly balances between not being drowned out and sounding over manufactured. The instrumentals layer and buildup as the song marches on, and the final, and most refreshing part of the song (and album) is a key change right before the song wraps up.
Ballyhoo! hits San Diego January 30th. So what are you waiting for? Grab a ticket!