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The Fenwicks
Flip Dog Discs

Ska, like punk, isn't dead. But, if the bastardized version of either is the only thing keeping the body on life support, it may be time to pull the plug. The body of ska lives to see another heartbeat with the entrance of The Fenwicks. That's how this disc starts out anyway.

But, to say that The Fenwicks are strictly ska is a lie. They do combine many different styles in their music. Alt rock and folk seems to be a motivating force, but Eudamonia does find them dabbling also in mariachi, world beat and 70's style rock. The first track, "You, Me and Heresy" reminisces of the wackier side of Madness. While track 2, "Man First" seems almost like a Stan Ridgeway song.

"What the Hammer" settles us into a better feel of who this band is and what they sound like. The easiest explanation is by calling them The Judybats, without the heart. To be fair, The Judybats had many songs without heart and if you were a fan, you'll know what I'm talking about.

I know we're in any economic boom and the whole world's a party, but can some band, somewhere please write lyrics for the thinking man? How much can a reviewer be asked to tolerate? There are moments, like "Can You Tell Me" where you can see that the band is trying to be emotional, but it plays really poorly. Instead of reflecting on past relationships and where the fault was, I'm left with an image of an over-aged hippy woman doing a silly, self involved dance to this song.

I can easier see The Fenwicks playing a corporate Christmas party than playing for music fans in a small club. They aren't playing to the lowest common denominator, but it's certainly not the highest. If you've ever said to someone, "Oh, I like every kind of music," then this album is for you. You can't have firm philosophies about what you like in music and enjoy this album. It's not created for, or at least not playing to, people who are more than fairweather music fans.

The mesh of Ska and alt rock has been done, and done better. It's not that The Fenwicks are a bad band, because they're not. It's not that it's necessary to bring something new to the table, because it's not. But, if you're going to commit something to vinyl, magnetic tape or plastic, it should be a step above. This is not. This is not for Ska fans, this is not for folk fans, this is not for alt rock fans. It's easier to say who wouldn't care about The Fenwicks than it is to say who would love them.

-Tyler Jacobson

Track Listing:

  1. You, Me & Heresy
  2. Man First
  3. What The Hammer
  4. Can You Tell Me
  5. Chava
  6. Kafka's Ax
  7. Under The Thorns
  8. This Is The Song
  9. Your Life
  10. Eulogy For A Parasite
  11. Dressed To Brood
  12. Burning Numbers
  13. Desert Rat

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