Better Ways to Love and Offend
21st Century Schizoid Ska and Much Much More.
Zen Baseballbat sound as much like The Skatalites or Specials as they do Coldplay! But that’s why they; and those like them are far more exciting than an 80’s covers band playing Baggy Trousers and Lip Up Fatty note for note!
I immediately loved the B Movie intro to opening track Trouble and the mantra like chorus and chunky melody had me swaying my shoulders in time the first time I played the album ….. which was in the car on a red hot day.
Like several of their contempories in recent years, Zen Baseball Bat are based more around a Synthesiser/organ rather than a lead guitar; but then again; so where the original Specials when Jerry Dammers ran the show; and that gives the likes of Retaliation, Elsa Dorfman and the quirky Name People/Dog People an extra dimension that the traditional pop band format loses.
With no Press Release to speak of it was probably the third time I heard it that the penny dropped that Living on the Ceiling was a cover of the hit song by Blancmange which I loved way back when, and again now with this fascinating interpretation, especially the Egyptian Reggae style melody.
While not overtly political in outlook; living in the times that they do; Zen Baseballbat are probably obliged to dabble in such matters, which is where (I think) Bombs are Falling, Rumble and Quivering on a Rope subtly come in …. political with a small ‘p’ and still eminently danceable too.
The album finishes where it started, with another rendition of Trouble; but this time as Double Trouble a much simpler version, with a child singing the lyrics …… and somehow makes the chorus ever more powerful.
A big part of me want s to make Living in The Ceiling my Favourite Track, but as it’s a cover I’m going for the robust Don’t Oppress Me Love which sounds like 70’s uber band Traffic attempting a Reggae song and winning; and the other You Won’t Get Paid, won’t appeal to everyone because it’s a funky Dub style recording; and I bloody love it ……. Heavy, Heavy Ska maaaaaan!
Zen Baseball Bat will unquestionably make a living on the Ska/Scooter circuit; but there’s so much more to them than that; as their intelligent choice of a cover song proves; plus there are elements of both Booker T and Stevie Winwood in the keyboard parts while the lush arrangements are pure House of Spector ……. making this a great soundtrack to a Summer’s Day ….. and Autumn too.
Zen Baseballbat are the Gleavey twins, Jordan Donaldson, Mike Wilkinson, Jogga, Anoushka Gleavey, Jane Anderson, Colin Mackay
Released August 1st 2021
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