There’s nothing mournful about “The Dirge,” the screaming trombone-fueled first track of SoCal ska quintet Mad Caddies’ fifth studio album. If the song is a funeral march, it’s for a dead clown and his 500 closest friends, all packed in the hearse for a frenzied drive around the cemetery. The tune could hardly be more nutso.
Keep It Going makes clear what a joy Mad Caddies could be live—funky horns and slinky bass lines sure to crack the floor joists beneath a bouncing crowd abound.
But the album also shows the heavy hand of someone more concerned with melody than mania, an unfortunate presence exemplified in the opening moments of “Today”—a song about a hangover that dares to air lines like “I’ve been here so many times you get used to the pain / But I don’t want to play these self-destructive games.” Granted, the song busts into a skanky rhythm soon enough, but the damage is done: it sounds like a whiny missive from some kid who had too many Sparks and deserves every pulse of the pounding hangover he wound up with.
But I’ll be damned if Keep It Going isn’t still the best horn-heavy, plaid-clad album I’ve heard in a long time. (Jason Wiener)