jW2Zwk8K_400x400I have to admit that as a new name to hit the review pile I was more than pleasantly surprised at Slightly Stoopid’s latest, and ninth, album. Always one to judge books by covers (hey, we all do it) and on this occasion the music by the band name, I was relived when what emanated from the speakers was not actually some frat boy, pop punk as the name had suggested to me but in fact a really cool West Coast fusion band.

Even fusion is a loaded term but here it comes in the form of a cool blend of roots-rock, reggae, pop and blues, in the past have even explored more extremes genres such as punk and metal. Here though the focus is very much on island life, ska, reggae and calypso sounds form the core but there is plenty of room to follow those musical threads to their logical extensions and incorporate hip-hop, soul-pop, folk and roots rock and roll and much more besides. So how does a band fit all of those, often mutually exclusive styles together? Well, normally a band doesn’t, at least not well, but Slightly Stoopid, despite their name, are actually extremely clever, more than that they are deft arrangers, superb players and are brilliantly imaginative conceptually.

You can tell a lot about a band by the company they keep and the fact that Ali Campbell turns up for a ska-pop groover, Yellowman brings the old school reggae and dub legend Don Carlos fronts two slick and sultry dance floor anthems, says all you need to know here.

Nine albums in and it’s my first encounter with the band. My bad, as the youth of today say but at least people know what to get me for the next eight birthdays!

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