Since I first listened to the song "Road Rash" by the Mad Caddies on the Fat Wreck Chords comp Life in the Fat Lane (1999), I have been a fan of the band. That was fifteen years ago, and in that span the Mad Caddies have released four studio albums, most recently with their brand new full-length on Fat Wreck Chords, Dirty Rice. And this release, the Mad Caddies first in seven years, shows the band maintaining the same manifold sound and musical prowess with which they have written, recorded and performed since they were established in 1995.
Dirty Rice is made up of twelve all-new Mad Caddies songs marked by the band's broad range of ska, punk, reggae, jazz, and pop. For this album the Caddies lineup is Chuck Robertson on vocals, Todd Rosenberg on drums, Dustin Lanker (formerly of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies) on keyboards, Sascha Lazor on guitar, Keith Douglas on trumpet, Ed Hernandez on trombone, and Graham Palmer on bass. On adding Lanker and Palmer to the lineup in 2007 and 2009, respectively, Robertson commented, "We’re excited with this lineup because the new additions bring so much to the table with their musical knowledge and songwriting skills. That's very evident listening to these songs.
"Brand New Scar," the opening track on Dirty Rice, starts off with vintage style piano and vocals, and then, after punctuating chords and beats, it unfolds into a full band jazz-punk arrangement. The second track, "Love Myself," is an energetic punk composition with brief ska moments. "Shoot Out the Lights" changes it up considerably with its upbeat reggae tone. One of my favorites on the album, "Bring It Down," is full of fast, distorted guitar, punk drumming, and great sociopolitical lyrical content. "Little Town" is sort of tropical island music meets ska pop piece. "Drinking the Night Away," the closing track on Dirty Rice, is folky ska song with group vocals for the chorus.
Dirty Rice by the Mad Caddies was released by Fat Wreck Chords on May 13th, 2014 on CD, LP and digital download.