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Non-Prog CD Reviews

No Doubt

No Doubt

Review by Gary Hill

Although a lot of the material on this disc stays in one area (ska), the band, and album, is far from a one trick pony. The music does cover considerable ground within these confines, and it actually does show meanderings outside the wall at times. This album is primarily fun and bouncy.

No Doubt is Adrian Young, Tony Kanal, Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont and Eric Stefani.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
BND
This brief instrumental combines Tejano sounds with ska. The appearance of funky bass work and textures calling to mind the Blues Brothers and Blood, Sweat and Tears certainly cause one to question just how one band can pack so much into a mere 44 seconds.
Let's Get Back
Picture Blood, Sweat and Tears augmented by a more modern rhythm section. Now, imagine instead of David Clayton Thomas a spirited female vocalist. You now have a picture of the majority of this cut. Both a discofied rhythm break (in fact, much of the bass line is cut from a disco pattern) and a Princeish (Artistish doesn`t flow quite as well) guitar solo make an appearance. This song addresses one partner lamenting the changes the other is going through and wishing "let`s get back together".
Ache
A simple song about having wisdom teeth extracted, this one combines early Police with Madness.
Get On the Ball
"Get on the ball and show your lover you care". This song is fast, quirky, and funky. The bass line, in particular, stands out. Get on the Ball is unusual and contains allusions to the B52`s, Beach Boys and the Beatles` Rubber Soul.
Move On
A quite metallic guitar line starts the piece out, and, although dropping back in the mix, it stays throughout the intro. Changing styles frequently, this chaotic number gives the listener little time for breath catching. Early verses show a rap/ska mode, while the chorus is a peculiar (but effective) thrash with horns treatment. The instrumental break (and the verse that follows it) is quite metallic with minor modern Crimson tones. Eastern sounds show up in the number`s closing moments.
Sad For Me
Feeling like a twisted Eleanor Rigby at times, Sad For Me is a quirky ballad.
Doormat
Combining `70`s R & B with ska, this track is very funky. "I`m not your asphalt, with oil spots, so don`t use me as a parking lot."
Big City Train
Fun, frantic, funk finesse make up this cut, which is another based on ska and `70`s R & B. A considerably tasteful guitar solo is featured.
Trapped In A Box
A criticism of the American addiction to television, this is a very bouncy number. Musically a grin inducing track, the ending features a transistor radio sort of sound.
Sometimes
A very sedate and sad sounding ballad, Sometimes is beautiful.
Sinking
Appropriately, boat sounds begin this track. The texture is very dramatic, Madness influenced, and quite meaty. "row row row your boat" even makes an appearance.
A Little Something Refreshing
High energy ska comes out of a verse which is simply solid rock. A `50`s based segment also makes a showing in this mixed bag of tricks.
Paulina
Sharing much with the Police`s "My Gal Sal", this number is about a fascination with a magazine model. The music is slow reggae with polka moments. Eric Stefani handles the vocal chores.
Brand New Day
Featuring a triumphant horn section, this high-energy number is simply a song celebrating a new day everyday. Utilizing a proggish break and frantic bass work, this is a strong conclusion to the album.
 
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