Review By Dustin Griffin – 5/5 Dragons
From Junes Vandala Magazine – READ MORE REVIEWS HERE
If there’s no more appropriate time for a new Mad Caddies record to drop, it’s on the cusp of summer. The birds are chirping, the smell of honeysuckle fills the air, people who have been sitting around eating ice cream all winter are squeezing into horrifically tight Lulu Lemon pants and jogging or biking down the way to sit around and eat frozen yogurt all summer. The beaches are opening, trailers are being packed with camping gear. It just feels right to start spinning some southern Californian ska/punk/reggae to accompany all this spirit lifting excitement: Bob Marley, The Specials, Sublime and Mad Caddies all get a lot of attention to accompany the sun in my personal summer holiday soundtrack.
Dirty Rice is the first new record from the Solvang genre benders since their fantastic 2007 bopper Keep It Going. Seven years is a healthy gap between releases and in that time the band has been mostly dormant. A few one off shows here and there and a couple of on the side releases from members, such as the more soul and reggae focused Ellwood. As well as the collaboration with Fat Mike to releases a very strange but oddly fabulous ragtime album Rubber Bordello, created to accompany a period piece porno film. So the excitement never stopped in the Caddies camp, it just slowed.
Stylistically, this record continues on the same foot path that we found Keep It Going on. Which is less snotty punk fury, with more emphasis on the ska/reggae/world music vibe. Which isn’t to say there are no punk rippers to be found on Dirty Rice. “Love Myself” a song about mending a broken heart and “Bring It Down” both sound like classic era Caddies.
That’s about as heavy as Dirty Rice gets though. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sunny, soulful jams go down smooth throughout, like the gritty “Down and Out”, the dirty grooves of “Dangerous” and the acoustic sing along “Drinking the Night Away”. The latter a song which almost begs to be played at full volume on the back porch with a cooler full of beer and the sun sinking in the distance.
Elsewhere “Back To the Bed” and “Brand New Scar” are songs which are destined to become fan favourites. With their crisp, infectious melodies and jumpy rhythms, they perfectly exemplify the strengths of this band, while highlighting what makes Mad Caddies one of the most impressive acts currently sitting on the Fat Wreck Chords roster. This album is so good in fact, that I’ll go on record as saying that this is the best Mad Caddies record to date. A welcome return from a band that for at least half of its existence, has been better than it’s indie roots.
A perfect slice of watermelon to welcome the summer months. Here’s hoping the next record doesn’t take almost another full decade. http://www.madcaddies.net/