Drewvis - Disposable Pleasures and Meaningful Pursuits

Drewvis

Disposable Pleasures and Meaningful Pursuits

Released: June 13 2011

Genre: Reggae

Label: Do The Dog 

Rating: 2.5/5

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By: Alexandra Lyon

Disposable Pleasures and Meaningful Pursuits by Drewvis is an album that has been effectively pulled out of the wilderness into the public eye.

Though not prominently well-known, Drewvis’ growing fan-base will no doubt fully appreciate the efforts of talented frontman Drew Bristow, and percussionist Sebastian Laverde. Self-managed, the duo have managed to assemble an admirable first effort at an LP, a simple, relaxed fusion of articulate, relevant lyrics and the mixture of crisp, precise guitar riffs and an irresistible reggae drum beat.

Their sound vocally is reminiscent of groups such as the Drums, in their acoustic sessions. The album, in terms of ambition, aims to brighten the mood of the listener through it’s light guitar hums and quirky use of maracas and woodblocks. The reggae-pop pic’n’mix of tracks is light-hearted and fun, a guaranteed smile-inducer when the clouds seem a bit greyer than usual.

Some notable songs on the album include Short Measures, which showcases their charming southern accents, over a clean and uncomplicated guitar melody and drum beat. They also make use of a layering technique with Bristow’s vocals, making one man sound like three; giving the track a more defined “band” feel.

Estoy Esperando featuring female vocalist Amanda Bes adds a new dimension to the album, including a Spanish lyrical section; giving the track a sunny feel and the quirky wisp of Euro-pop mixed with sounds of the Caribbean.

iWant, presumably a pun on the Apple iPod, shows another diverse feel of their music, introducing a bass guitar and a piano into the mix. Layered in ascending riffs, the track is again reminiscent of sounds heard on the continent, though this would be more likely to be heard in a back-street Italian café or pizzeria. Drewvis’ shining optimism is evident in every track, but notably in the pitch of the chords in the guitar’s upper registers and a very kooky sounding vocal, again, from Bristow.

The album on the whole is definitely one to hear if your mood’s not what it should be, as the sun practically shines into your ears through their happy sung/spoken choruses and hooks. The only real hindering point comes when most of the songs sound near enough identical. They have without doubt found their sound, and they realise what works for them as a duo, but there has to be an element of difference to some degree to maintain the listener’s complete interest if nothing else. The songs do seem to merge into each other, which if it were a narrative album would be perfectly acceptable, but it isn’t.

Drewvis – Short Measures

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Smoke Like A Fish - Blood, Fish and Bone

Smoke Like A Fish

Blood, Fish and Bone

Released: July 06 2011

Genre: Punk/Ska/Reggae

Label: Do The Dog

Rating: 3.5/5

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By: Rebecca Woolston

Smoke Like a Fish certainly know how to go out with a bang. After announcing last year that the band were to split up, Blood, Fish and Bone is the promised album which was left behind, along with some final tour dates, which are set to end later this month. This album most definitely holds the purpose of making sure that Smoke Like a Fish are not forgotten in a hurry; full of bouncy, energetic ska riffs, which leave you no choice but to tap your foot.

Blood, Fish and Bone is very simply a punk flecked ska record; a sound which any previous listeners of Smoke Like a Fish will know very well. But that’s not to say you’ll be easily bored by them – In fact, the very opposite is likely to be felt. This album is interesting throughout; layering a great amount of sounds the whole way through and including both brass and keys to the usual mix. The whole album is as energetic as possible and is likely to have any keen ska listener hooked.

The tone of the album is set right from the opening song ‘Perfect World’, which is catchy and fast-paced; perfect for dancing to. It starts off with a slow keyboard tune and suddenly bursts into life with rapid drum beats, rhythmic guitar riffs and a catchy brass melody. Another highlight of the album, is the bands cover of the Zounds song ‘Subvert’, which is just as effective played in Smoke Like a Fish’s ska punk style, as it was originally. This song is just as fast-paced and rhythmic as the rest of the album and almost seems to have been made for the voice of the front man, who seems to nearly spit the words of the verse. ‘Subvert’ also features a fantastic saxophone solo, which swoops impressively over the on-going guitar riff. The album ends with the catchy ‘Blow the Whole Thing Up’, which is sure to stay in your head for hours after the album has finished, even through the hidden track which it is followed with.

With their last album being released in 2004, this is most definitely worth the wait and just proves what a shame it is that Smoke Like a Fish are soon to be no more. Despite this, their final album will certainly not leave them forgotten – it’s just a shame that it couldn’t have got them as much
recognition as they deserve.

Smoke Like A Fish – Blow The Whole Thing Up