Big D & the Kids’ Table/Drexel
Shot by Lammi
Fork in Hand
Here’s a split CD showcasing two young bands from the Boston area, both “recorded & engineered” by Jonathan Lammi (hence the title). Big D & the Kids’ Table are a 9-piece ska band with punky tendencies, while Drexel are a straight-ahead punk 4-piece. Both bands manage to squeeze in a full album’s worth of tracks onto one CD, so unlike most splits, you get a good idea of what both bands are about.
Big D most closely resemble Big Daddy Multitude-era Mustard Plug, only with better vocals and stronger horns. Tracks like the album-opening “In Front of Me,” with its “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” horn riffs, and the über-catchy “Jeremy,” manage to capture the same fun and energy as the Plug without sounding derivative. “Giving it Up” is a noteworthy toe-tapper with some great organ and horn lines. Other tracks, like “Draw the Line,” “Hey,” and “What?,” veer a lot closer to punk than ska, but still work well. The most interesting track, though, is probably the nearly six-minute opus “Quiet Room,” veers back and forth between the two styles, throwing in a little hip-hop and scratching in the middle and some traditional-leaning solos to close out. Overall, Big D’s half is a good intro to a fun band; one that I’ll bet are even more fun live.
Unfortunately, Drexel don’t fare nearly as well. Their half of the CD is mostly made up of sludgy punk numbers. Tracks like “Praise on Them” and “BCM” are pretty atonal and drony. They fare a little better when they speed things up on tunes like “You Wanted It” and “Shoe,” but overall there’s really nothing I’d want to listen to again here. Drexel gave me a headache more than anything else.
Overall, the split’s worth picking up for the Big D half. You get a full album’s worth of their material here anyway. Consider the Drexel half like the free toy surprise in your Cracker Jack box: most of the time, you know it isn’t going to be any good. Fork in Hand Records, 150 Mass Ave., Boston, MA 02115