| When 311's funky rock and reggae stylings began invading tape players around the world in the early '90s, a highly influential sound and scene was brewing. One group of kids from Aberdeen, Md. listened closely and decided they would take the style and make it their own.
This group's name is Ballyhoo!, and they have come a long way since their humble beginnings on the East Coast. The band has shared stages with Slightly Stoopid, 311, Matisyahu and The Dirty Heads. Ballyhoo!'s newest studio recorded LP, "Pineapple Grenade," showcases the band's stellar ability to smash the walls between genres and elevates the experience of listening.
The album drops in with a reggae sound that takes you straight to the islands on "She Wants to Destroy Me," but it doesn't let you get too bored before a heavier riff rocks you straight into the energetic chorus.
When the gritty surf stylings of the second song, "Battle Cry," start grinding in your earphones, it's easy to realize that this album will continue to change directions on a dime, and every time it does, you're going to thank Ballyhoo! for doing so.
Ballyhoo! is one of those bands whose music says, "We play what we want, and no matter what we play, it's going to kick ass." One of the best parts of the album is you never know what's going to come next, and the songs are hit after hit. You can listen to the album from beginning to end and have absolutely no clue which tracks are the singles ... there are just way too many awesome jams on here to guess. (I'll save you the trouble, it's "No Good," and check out the video on YouTube!)
From beautiful songs that bare the soul to pop anthems like "Instigator" that could kick start a party on a Monday night in church, these guys are seriously good at catering to any occasion; the variety of the album makes for an easy and exciting listen all the way through.
When a band puts a great punk song like "Out of My Mind" on the same album as the heart-wrenching ballad "When They Told Me," it really reflects the cohesive and beautifully twisted sense that Ballyhoo! makes. Somehow, it all fits perfectly together to create the distinct sound they're known for.
"Pineapple Grenade" is one of the most interesting and fun mixes of songs you'll hear on the same release, and like their high-energy and entertaining live shows, the band makes sure there's something everyone can enjoy.
Ballyhoo! is going to be huge...
They're already big, and the formula for massive success surrounds them with every move they make. They have an AMAZING live show (and they tour their asses off). They put out five albums that are all a perfect testament to their experimental and fun nature. They have played shows from the 311 cruise to the enormously successful California Roots Festival, and they know how to kick you in the teeth and then slip a beautiful reggae pillow under your head just before you hit the ground. Thousands of fans from all over the world will tell you that no matter what they put out there, it's something you're going to enjoy.
We fine folks here in San Diego are stoked for their arrival with reggae-rock staples Passafire and Pacific Dub on Jan. 30 at The Irenic. So make sure to go check out their latest release, "Pineapple Grenade," on iTunes and Pandora, and enjoy the show after!
Brendan Clemente is a writer and musician living in San Diego, CA. He blogs for Hill Kid Clothing and plays bass for The StirCrazies.