It seems to be that ever since the fall of mainstream 3rd wave ska in the late 90’s, every band who survived has done everything possible to bring a new, refreshing, unique spin on the genre. Streetlight Manifesto’s albums have gotten increasingly more folk/punk/progressive, and other bands like Less Than Jake and Big D & The Kids Table are continuing to morph their sound in different ways. That’s not a bad thing, at all. But the debut album by Dan P. and The Bricks, “Watch Where You Walk,” (on Asian Man Records) doesn’t do that. It’s a throwback to straight 3rd wave, and sometimes earlier ska. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either.
I imagine it’d be fun music to dance to. I it seems like it would be a good addition to an indie rom-com soundtrack. Track 12, “Quit For Me,” is now on my driving playlist. But unfortunately this record is just not that fun to sit down and listen to more than once. There’s nothing lyrically, musically, or stylistically to keep me coming back to any of the songs.
(Read the full review here.)
However, it’s important to remember that this album was probably written for fans of, say, 2-tone ska legends The English Beat rather than fans of Potthast’s previous band, the ska-punk powerhouse MU330. With that comparison in mind, when you take away MU330’s electric fast-paced punk influences, humorous lyrics, and the crazy-high energy that the band brings to their music (I can recall one show where trombonist Gerry Lundquist ran around with a de-bladed chainsaw while fans ‘power-skanked’), Potthast’s work seems quite lacking.
Additionally I feel like the potential very-full 5-piece horn section is squandered in this album. At the very least a listener should be hearing two separate and interesting parts from the combination of a trombone, trumpet, and three saxes, rather than just hearing everybody play basically the same thing.
Whether Dan moves on to another project or stays to release more material with The Bricks, I really hope to hear better from the dude who was once a crucial part of ska music in the U.S. 2 stars out of 5.