‘Seance! Seance!’ is the latest album release of shoreline Connecticut’s foremost brass and sax laden reggae punk band The Hempsteadys. Start to finish, this album is a powerhouse of rocksteady party punk songs with infectious melodies strong enough to get the wallflowers of a dimly lit venue dancing like maniacs. For anyone unfamiliar with the genre of ska punk beyond the outer layer of bands like Reel Big Fish, Bosstones, and Less Than Jake posi-pop punk feel. Beneath the skin of the genre is an underbelly of street punk and reggae from which the genre evolved from humble beginnings. In this underbelly happily sits bands like The Hempsteadys who bring a new sound and new life to a genre that people have been calling “dead” for years. Ska isn’t dead, it’s been summoned and channeled by Hempsteadys with their incredible new album ‘Seance! Seance!’.
In the heels of their wildly successful 2015 release ‘El Amor De Los Muertos’, Hempsteadys kept the bar set high by providing their dedicated fan base with groove laced ska jams like “Still Life With Woodpecker,” the first track on their new album. The album kicks off with a unique drum groove from drummer Matt Covey (also the drummer for Such Gold) followed by the signature smooth guitar and horn lines with two-step vibes combined with aggressively energizing vocals and group chants ; a theme that carries on throughout the album, consistent with the likes of, Rancid, Operation Ivy, The Specials, The Clash, and Against Me!
Don’t get me wrong though, this band and this album is not to be lumped with any other predecessors because it stands out prominently with instrumental tracks like “When Dead Are Undead” that features guest Trombonist Vinny Noble (The Pilfers, Suicide Machines, and Bim Skala Bim) and Bradford Krieger on Theremin, a combination that is executed excellently and helps to distinguish this album from any reggae punk album ever released. Similarly, “Temple of Boom,” another instrumental track from the album channels the genre’s ambient bass-heavy dub reggae roots.
The Hempsteadys don’t stray too far from their signature sound as they return to their classic rocksteady ska punk sound with “Rudy Comes From The Street” and “The Moon Laughs Knowingly” and “Box Fan” that leaves you blissfully lost in brash vocals, guitar upstrokes, and catchy horn licks that any ska fan would embrace endearingly. To show their versatility, mixed into the album are songs like “The Well” that would make you think you were listening to an edgy deep cut track from Arcade Fire or Foals with a twist of reggae mixed in. Songs like this show the musical maturity of the band that puts them a step above any other cookie cutter ska punk band.
No description or review I could write could adequately prepare you for the listening experience of this album or a live performance from this powerhouse of a band.
Catch The Hempsteadys live as they tour through Connecticut during the fall and if you want to dance at home or in your car (drive safely please) you can get ‘Séance! Séance!’ and their other releases at thehempsteadys.com and streamed on all major streaming outlets.