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Monday, February 1, 2016

Pressure Boys - Krandlebanum Moments

Name: Pressure Boys
Album: Krandlebanum Moments
Year: 1987
Style: Ska, Jam
Similar Bands: Dead Milkmen, Specials, Pietasters, Aquabats, Animal Bag, Hatters, Blasters
"One-Word" Review: Uncomfortable Speedy Brass Jams
Based Out Of:Chapel Hill, NC
Label: AR3D/Smash Records
Krandlebanum Moments - Cover, Sleeve, Record
Krandlebanum Moments - Back, Lyrics, Record

Krandlebanum Moments (1987)
  1. Waiting in Queensland 4:06
  2. A Chew and a Swallow 2:23
  3. Around the World 2:39
  4. Dial Tone 3:03
  5. Lover's Town 3:10
  6. Lava Booger 2:17
  7. Holler 'Bout Nothin' 3:34/
  8. Tina Goes to the Supermarket 2:42
  9. Lost Eyes 2:55
  10. Hallows Eve 3:31
  11. Terrible Brain 2:48
  12. Off to Lake Tumont 3:27
  13. Trombonehead 2:20
  14. The Dance of the Horta 2:03

Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
Jack Campbell - Bass (George Huntley, Johnny Quest)
Rob Ladd - Drums (Let's Active, Parthanon Huxley, Alanis Morrisette, Bad Checks, Vonda Shepard, Don Dixon, Don Henley, Red Clay Ramblers) 
Byron Settle - Guitar (LUD)
John Plymale - Horns, Vox (Sex Police, Dillon Fence, Claire Holley, Portastic, Parmalee, Bustello)
Stacey Guess - Horns (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Sex Police, Kismet)
Greg Stafford - Sax
Wendy Walsh - Photos
Rich Beckman - Photos
Factory Ratchet Boy - Producer
Mike Beard - Producer
Steve Gronback - Mixing
Wes Lachot - Recording
Ken Blackwood - Cheese Dip

Unknown-ness: I have never heard of this band. Based on the complicated and marginal (Segio Aragon├ęs ) artwork on the front and back, it feels like it is going to be some sort of college radio, jangle pop record. Although, the record looks like it might be a lot of short songs: 14 tracks and no time lengths. It might be more brief punk songs.

Album Review: The P-Boys started out as a Ska coverband, and evolved in a sprawling number of directions to incorporate much more style into their music. They were a cult followed band in the Chapel Hill area, and this first and last full length album came on the heels of two eps and preceded a breakup a year later. The singer’s daughter developed Cystic Fibrosis, which prompted a reunion/benefit show in 2008, and they also played together for two dates alongside of Let’s Active & The Connells in 2014.
 “Waiting in Queensland” begins like a talking heads song briefly, before the ska horns come in. The vocals are a little annoying, like a combination of a jam and pop-punk band, but not horrible. It is a slow stop, not a skanking song. It carries a bit of the 80’s college jangle pop at the base of the song, with horns adding depth and a Midnight Oil bass line.
“A Chew and a Swallow” is a rollicking bongo fueled song with horns peppering the background, not giving it a straight forward danceable ska feel. It is rooted more in roots music. I can see the comparisons to the way that Oingo Boingo uses their horns, but I would never think to compare them to OB if it were not for having read it elsewhere.
“Around the World” was their single, if only because they have a video of the song on their Youtube channel, and it played on MTV. It has a faster skankable beat, and it progresses up octaves as the verses play out. It is a very playful song, and the melody sounds like it would be fun to sing. There is a section of deeper spoken word lyrics that does have a more Oingo Boingo sound to it, but the rest is carefree ska.
“Dial Tone” starts off with a phone dialing and has a bit of an XTC vocal melody in the beginning, but it is not carried as intuitively as Andy Partridge. This song uses the phrase around the world (room?) too, so I’m getting confused if I’m really on the right song.
“Lover's Town” feels like a more traditional classic Ska song by composition with heavier bass and guitars. The vocal melody still is what troubles me. It doesn’t feel natural.
“Lava Booger” is a grooving, slap bass instrumental song. It sounds like a product of the early 90s (a little ahead of its time) like funky jam bands like Fungo Mungo and Animal Bag (also reviewed here earlier).
“Holler 'Bout Nothin'” kicks off with a rolling honky tonk drum beat. And the song doesn’t let down if stomp-a-long cowboy jams are your thing. It does introduce the brass, which does add a little more depth, but their usage is short lived.

“Tina Goes to the Supermarket” is another driving, happy day ska influenced song.
“Lost Eyes” has a pub song swagger to it, reminding me of the Blasters. The bass line has a care free meandering tone played in time alongside playful trumpets. The instrumental breakdown is big band jazzy.
“Hallows Eve” is preceded by a meandering instrumental section that plays very quietly for a few seconds. The song has a very 80’s vibe to it, with a bopping beat and horns sparingly, but efficiently used.
“Terrible Brain” drives at the beginning of the song, and picks up in the second verse. But the slight change of tempo in chorus is actually very good. It has a nice catchy hook to it, one that could repeat ad infinitum. Two stanzas through, and the song takes a slowed down instrumental break – reset before the third verse-chorus.
“Off to Lake Tumont” another minute long jam sesh. plays before the start of this song at low volume. The vocal harmonies are the stand out point of the song, which is another straight forward, funky driving song with horns. The harmonizing vocals break away from the lead, and they do a fun call and response section that is very catchy.|
“Trombonehead” has a third quiet instrumental section before it gets going. This section is very calm and sedated, which balances out the rapid bass and fun skanking tempo of the song.
“The Dance of the Horta” starts off with a fun eastern European stomp, a little like Gogol Bordello. And it just continues to drive straight through to the end the record with an energetic note (that stops very abruptly). It has a nice breakdown that really builds anticipation, and it delivers with a release of melody.

I really wish I liked this more…it has lots of elements that I really do like, but vocals always play a big part for my enjoyment, and I really don’t like the way the singer rides out his vocal melodies or his execution of vocal inflections. It just rubs me the wrong way.

Stand Out Track: Dance of the Horta

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