Album review

Mad Caddies : Just One More
Fat Wreck Chords

Mad Caddies : Just One MoreIt's a typical story; a group of friends living in Cali decide to get together and form a band because there's little else to do in their boring town. But that's where the cliché stops; Mad Caddies are a whole new breed compared to the hundreds of bands that emerge from the West Coast every year.
    They've been together since 1996, gone through various line-up changes and this, Just One More, is their fourth release with Fat Wreck Chords. It really is quite hard to compare Mad Caddies to any other band you can think of as there are so many styles of music woven into their punk rock/ska resonance: Dixieland jazz, reggae and surf are just a few.

Just One More kicks off on a softer note than its predecessors, with Drinking For 11, a reggae anthem revolving around the idea that alcohol remedies loneliness (which, lets face it, always seems to be true). The theme of alcohol and other illegal substances are the main influence on the album, reflected in the cover art and the lyrics in the songs: "Contraband, I love you. Contraband, I need you so." The variety of musical genres within the album is excellent; the different styles fit together well and actually sound like they're from the same song, which is often the problem when crossing over different sounds.
    Leavin' is a stereotypical representation of the Mad Caddies with its classy horns and distorted chorus, and Rockupation is a fun take on the issue of selling out: "All the suits in Hollywood are gonna roll in all the dough."
    Last Breath is one of Just One More's finest moments, its sound reminding many Caddies fans of Falling Down, a song from The Holiday Has Been Cancelled EP that is regarded as one of their best.
    But the highlight has to be Spare Change, another reggae influenced number. Its slow pace and wailing trombone and trumpets spliced with its catchy chorus - "Are you gonna change your ways darlin', are you gonna change your ways?" - make it stand out from the other great songs just enough to be the finest.

Overall, Just One More is a refreshing change from the sometimes stale and frighteningly similar punk rock and ska that emerges from the US in huge volume, and even people who enjoy swing, jazz and reggae will find something they like in this. A must have!

:: Graham Drummond

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