Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Album Review: Status Quo by Behind Deadlines

Ska punk was a big part of me discovering punk rock music. Bands like Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish were a massive part of my musical education. As I've gotten older I haven't listened to ska punk quite as much but I still love it. I don't often get sent much ska punk music to review so when Lauren from Mills On Wheels PR sent me Status Quo by Behind Deadlines I was quite excited to discover that they are a ska band. This was going to be a very fun record to review.

Status Quo gets going with the song Biochemistry. Behind Deadlines sound is evident from the get go. It's upbeat and has plenty of bounce. It's a bit of a throwback to the 90's third wave ska movement with a modern twist. Lead singer Zach Brooks has a very distinctive voice that works extremely well with the music. Everything about this sound I enjoy. Despite the upbeat sound of the song if you take a look at the lyrics it's actually quite a sad song about feeling at odds with the world. " I Must Have Been Oxygen And You Were Hydrogen. We Were Combustive Like The Sun. Just Like Uranium, It's So Unstable. I Want To Destroy It All Now That You're Gone, My God, I Can You Hand Me That Glass?" is a great set of lyrics for the scientists among us. Up next is Sick Of It All. This track is about feeling fed up with your life but not being willing to change it. Despite the again downcast nature of the lyrics the music is so upbeat it's hard not to smile along with the song. There's a big element of pop music in this song and part of me can imagine a boy band singing this song, that might be because it's so damn catchy. Laid Off begins with some horns that give the song a serious tone to get us going. This time Brooks sings about working for a struggling company, hanging around hoping for the best before you eventually lose your job. This is the first song on Status Quo that really shows the gentlemen in Behind Deadlines brilliant musicianship. This track also feels like it might be a bit of an anthem at a Behind Deadlines live show with the line "Whoa-Oh-Oh, You Got Laid Off."

The fourth song on Status Quo is named Hey Dear Friend. Hey Dear Friend is a fast paced track about noticing your friend is not around anymore but realising that you don't actually miss them. There is another chance for Brooks to show off his musical chops with a superb guitar solo towards the end of the song, followed by some big horns before one last chorus. Making Change is a song that is a lot of fun. If ever a song was made to get you dancing it's this one. The bouncy rhythm is infectious, your feet will be tapping, your hips will be swaying, your head will be nodding, you will not be stationary whilst you listen to this song. Making Change is obviously about finding a way to make changes in your life for the better. Forgetting about other people and looking after yourself for once. Six Months has an extended horn introduction before we get into a slower paced but still quite bouncy track about the aftermath of a break-up. That awkward time when you're trying to get over somebody whilst always having to see them. Six Months is a song that really allows Behind Deadlines horn players to shine. Sink Or Swim sees the band pick the pace back up. Brooks sings some quick fire lines about realising it's now or never with the band and deciding to really give it a try. There is a lot of pirate metaphors throughout the song that I really enjoyed. In particular the chorus - "It’s Sink Or Swim, Get Out’ (Of) The Brig Or Walk The Plank, Don’t Have The Time To Preach And Argue With A Crew That’s Always Tanked, This Ship May Have Run Ashore, But It Hasn’t Run Its Course, Grab The Oars, I See The Tide Is Rollin’ In.

Up next is the song Optimism. I'm really reminded of 90's third wave heroes Edna's Goldfish on this track. Another song that allows the horns to lead the song, I really think that this is when Behind Deadlines are at their best. Optimism is about putting on a positive face despite feeling pretty negative about life. The ninth song, Worthless is a massive amount of fun. It's about that friend who complains about everything to the point that you're so fed up of it that you don't want to see them anymore. The chorus on this track is what really stood out to me. It's like being in a mosh pit wearing a bubble and bouncing off everyone really really quickly. It's a chorus that will get a live crowd really moving. The penultimate song on Status Quo is Escape From Philadelphia. It's about wanting to get out of the bands hometown Philadelphia. It talks about the music scene taking a down turn and deciding to go elsewhere as a band. The chorus is again superb, the band can write some brilliant hooks that really grab you by the bits and have your attention. Finally Status Quo is finished with Drinking To Brazil. The pirate theme is back with the song seeming like a pirate sea shanty only with a ska sound. As you can probably guess from the songs title this is also a drinking song. I loved the use of gang vocals, it's a shame more of the songs on the album didn't include this as it adds another fantastic layer to the Behind Deadlines sound. This is a great, fun, uplifting way to finish off the album. With a great big smile on your face.

Stream and download Status Quo here: https://behinddeadlines.bandcamp.com/album/status-quo

Like Behind Deadlines here: https://www.facebook.com/BehindDeadlines