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Ellwood ‘Lost in Transition’ (Album Review)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 Written by Rob Sleigh
Ellwood ‘Lost in Transition’ (Album Review)

If you’re familiar with the ska-infused party anthems of the Mad Caddies, then please meet Ellwood – a vaguely similar-sounding Californian reggae quartet that bear more than just a passing resemblance to said Caddies. And you would be forgiven for thinking that, for Ellwood actually are the Mad Caddies – well, four of them are anyway. Sometime since the Mad Caddies most recent release back in 2007, lead vocalist Chuck Robertson called together three of his bandmates to form this all-new side project. Although Ellwood could be accused of sounding a lot like Mad Caddies in places and therefore calling the purpose of this venture into question, what they have in fact done is removed the hyperactive, beer-soaked and brass-crazy punk rock of their main band and slowed it right down for a somewhat more tempered and easygoing pop-reggae album.

ImageWhat the band were left with after the taming of the Caddies is ‘Lost in Transition’, an album of chilled, rum-infused summer tunes for those days when the party’s all become a bit too much. The album kicks off with ‘The Deal’, a cool, rhythmic ska track that hears Chuck continuing with the quick-paced vocals that Mad Caddies fans will no doubt recognise him for. Melodic pop-reggae tracks like ‘Walking Away’ and ‘There She Is’ are equally recognisable, as you may notice at various points throughout the album, although this can occasionally become just a bit too familiar. Fortunately, however, this isn’t always the case. The piano-enhanced pop of ‘Dancin Girl’, for example, or the Santana-esque guitar solos of album closer ‘Don’t Look Back’ make for what is often a surprising effort.

Although the organ-driven reggae rhythms might sometimes become a bit too much, there’s no denying that this is frequently a highly-enjoyable album from Ellwood. Don’t expect too much, but if chilled-out, fun-loving melodic reggae songs played by an occasional punk rock band sound like your cup of tea, then listen in. If you’re already a Mad Caddies fan, there’s no doubt that there is reason here to be impressed. As long as you can ignore the odd familiar moment, you’re likely to be pleased to discover what they can do when things have been turned down a notch or two on the rock and roll scale.

Stereoboard Rating: 6/10

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