These days, it sounds to me like a lot of bands are jumping on this wobbly surfboy/ska/dub wagon. Sadly, a lot of their efforts sound contrived to the point that I feel that ten years ago they’d be decoding Poison solos note for note. However, the Erratics manage to pull off a record with that summery feel that many hitmakers have tried to emulate, while sounding as earnest and genuine as early Hüsker Dü.
It’s pretty plain that the band has carefully selected its influences and shows actual taste in what they play and how they play it. Helping the band greatly is its great sense of melody and the fact that they can play the shit out of their instruments. Hell, vocalist Brendan Stiles can deedle-dop better than that Blues Traveller guy whenever he feels like it (which in typical Erratics good taste is only once, in “Grain of Sand.”). “Sense of Truth” works great as a polka-paced ska number with a classic Midwestern chorus. “Red Room” features playing that skirts with avant garde before settling into a pumping riffer that sounds like early English Beat and a whole other bands in a blender.
If you’re digging the stuff on the new bandwagon, do yourself a favor and check them out before they leave that clattertrap in the dust. Touchwood Records, 1650 Broadway, Suite 1210, New York, NY 10019; http://www.touchwood.com