I started this site because of my love for music, both playing it and listening to it. This site is meant to be a music review site, but in the future, it may expand beyond that. We'll see how it goes.

I'd really appreciate feedback. Is there something you especially liked? Something you disagreed with? Suggestions for the site or for a review? Let me know. Either leave a comment, or email me. Thanks, and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Album Review: The Hippos - Forget the World

Genre(s): Ska
Released: April 1998

1. Far Behind - The song begins with a strong horn lead, backed by some powerful guitar, flowing into the vocals, which remind me of 99 Red Balloons (listen, and you'll see what I mean). The chorus of this song is a little lacking, but I love the verses. The song winds down with a little percussion breakdown. Overall, a great starting track. 9/10

2. Please - Some guitar work reminiscent of Sublime kicks this song off, followed by a nice horn rhythm. The majority of this song is led by some awesome drumming (during the verse and chorus). A horn solo breaks apart this song, and it ends with the chorus once again. 8/10

3. When Will I Learn - Again, the song begins with a horn solo, which sounds almost like a salsa song, with a sort of Latin feel to it. The verse lyrics aren't amazing or anything, which sort of drags the song down, but the overall rhythm holds everything else together in a song that sounds like it'd be good to dance to. 8/10

4. Diane - This song begins with some traditional rock guitar and drums. Until about 30 seconds in, the up-strokes and the horns are absent, so the song doesn't sound like a ska song for the most part. If you've heard Suburban Legends' music, this is very similar to their style. 8/10

5. Don't Worry - Blending reggae and something like ballroom-dance horns in the intro, this song manages to sound very different from the previous songs. It's a simple song; the guitar and horns aren't complex at all, which makes you focus more on the vocals. The verse has a minor tone to it, which switches to a more powerful major-sounding chorus. Overall, a very diverse song. 9/10

6. Celebrate - Ooh I like the vocals in this. The singing alternates between an old-time-radio quality to good quality (again, listen to see what I mean), which makes the verse pretty interesting. Again, another instrument solo breaking apart the song (this time with the bass). This band seems to do this a lot, which sort of takes away from the song diversity, but by itself, the song's good. 7/10

7. Irie - The rhythm and singing in this song are pretty fast and upbeat, again, a song you just feel like dancing to. The chorus breaks away from the ska sound, which is a pretty nice way of keeping this different. The song (again) goes into a horn solo, but they cut the speed in half, making for a little breakdown. The song picks up again for the end, ending with a very powerful combination of all the instruments. 9/10

8. Asleep at the Wheel - This song is the first on the album to use a keyboard, but it definitely adds to the song. The verse is again driven by some rock-style distorted guitar, backed by some simple horn lines. 8/10

9. So Lonely - A Police cover! Sweet. When I saw the song's name, I was hoping it was in fact the Police song. The first time I heard this was when Reel Big Fish played it on their DVD. It has a nice rhythm to it, and an amazingly powerful chorus. If you've heard the Police version, the vocals are pretty different in this version, and the overall feel is much more driven and strong, but still good. The horns definitely add to the song as well. 10/10

10. Rock & Roll - Another song making unusual but entertaining use of a synthesizer. This song's entirely instrumental, showcasing just about every instrument in the band, from the drums, to the horns, to that synthesizer. This song seems just like a regular song too, with a 'verse' and a 'chorus.' 8/10

11. Forget the World - The album's title track. It's a great closing track, with some great horn lines and a verse that alternates from a softer feel to a more powerful one, blending perfectly in with the chorus. 9/10

Overall - This album was a nice surprise for me. Last.FM recommended them to me a while back, but I hadn't been able to find any of their albums until today. I was looking forward to hearing it, and it definitely lived up to my expectations, if not exceeding them. This CD is so diverse; while it's all essentially ska music, there is a huge variety of styles making each song different. The band's overall sound seems like a blend of Reel Big Fish and Suburban Legends. If you're a fan of either of those bands, or a fan of ska music at all, definitely check this one out. 8/10

You can find The Hippos' album and more on Plan B Music.

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