Just One More (Fat)
by Ewan Wadharmi
More than drinking music, this is the soundtrack to a bender. While some like their music straight-up, Mad Caddies have snuck behind the bar and mixed all sort of odd concoctions from the dusty bottles. The more successful experiments are the daring exotic combinations of Jamaican rum ignited over bourbon. Without that element, there’s a strange reliance on ’80s blues metal that leaves a hair spray aftertaste in the MGD. The underagers are served a club soda and Green Day. The energy is right on the mark, the arrangements and the musicianship are enviably above average. Chuck’s vocals are versatile, sometimes nicely croaking, other times wimpy or out-dated, then smooth and soulful.
The British balladry of “Drinking For 11” ushers in light cognac ska with a surprisingly romantic message. With no time to become sentimental, “Contraband” spills high-octane petrol into a Motörhead pint glass. Even more unexpected is the Dixieland take on Bad Religion in “Villains.” On paper, it sounds so ridiculous that you’re shocked when banjo goes down so smooth with double bass. Who knew that James Hetfield appearing nightly at a Turkish opium den would have the appeal “Silence” offers? The horn section lends an authenticity to the driving crunch of the baritone guitar. “Just One More” is a slower Latin number with a Cuban ska back. More Corona than tequila, the vocals are very Top 40. Let’s face it, “La Vida Loca” is more-exciting ska. Tradition shows Irish music as akin to country. “Leavin” is St. Patrick’s Day on Bourbon Street, and the beautiful melee when parades collide. The bubble-glam of “Rockupation” belongs on a flexi-disc from the back of Mott The Hoople’s cereal. Mark’s sweet, sweet boot-stomping bass line rocks like Cleveland. Chuck lives up to the lyrics by spitting lively vocals without any bullshit. To wit: “Wasn’t too long ago that you could go to a show/Without trying to be somebody you’re not/Now the tables are turned and you’re getting burned/Don’t let them tell you it rocks.”
The speakeasy blues of “Last Breath” is more authentic than Souxie’s “Peakaboo,” and the bathtub gin will have you tearing up the streets. The blue-eyed soul “Spare Change?” has a sleepy drunken grin from under the table yearning for Squeeze’s “Black Coffee.” Op Ivy pops up for the bouncy “10 West.” Perhaps the first country-tinged ska since The Specials’ “Ghost Town.” The blues rock ballad “Good Intentions” is paved with the sound that brought down the house for the late Great White. The jumpy progression on “Wet Dog” is similarly geared to hard rock chicks with jiffy-pop hair, green eye shadow, and Slippery When Wet shirts. Some redemption comes with the return to the ska-rock-ska formula in “Game Show.”
Yeah, you’ve tried all the liquors on the shelf and can’t walk out. But how are you going to feel tomorrow? Bands like Ozomatli and Primitive Reason may be more consistent blending styles and making you enjoy music outside your comfort zone. But Mad Caddies are a happy drunk in whatever mood they explore. They wow you enough with the weird buzz that you’ll allow them their cheesy indulgences.
(PO Box 193690 San Francisco, CA 94119)