Jump Up!

If I could write a concise review solely discussing vocalist Kelly Zouchary’s lyrical delivery, I think I would. Really and truly, this girl’s voice is delightful. Smooth and refreshing, ranging from a deeper melodic sound to a Kay Hanley-esque level of power, just the way she patterns her words into a tune all its own is generally captivating. Almost so much, in fact, that you tend to forget about the rest of the band. And that, certainly, would be a shame.

Runforyerlife’s style can’t easily be pinpointed, but what you’re mainly looking at is pop-style traditional ska infused with jazz and served with the occasionally funky groove. However, that doesn’t do much justice to the diversity that the band provides, including a couple rock-oriented songs, a little light pop-ska, and a pretty decent instrumental. Then there’s your definite neo-traditional ska feel, which permeates throughout. There’s no definite pattern for what you’re going to find from this band, but their distinctive, fun, and energetic sound can’t be missed.

The only thing that really throws me about this band is their apparently strong religious affiliation, mainly because if it wasn’t included (and emphasized) in the bio, I probably would have never known about it. That is, except for an extensive praise entitled “Psalm 100” at the back of their insert. Now, me personally, I don’t really appreciate political or religious agendas that come along with music. My reasons are varied, and they have nothing to do with the message itself, but my opinion of a band does alter — usually not by much — after finding out that they’re about more than just making great music. Not really seeping into the songs themselves, however, there’s not much to say about runforyerlife’s connection with the church. All the same, it was something in need of mentioning.

Back to the music, however. This is one of the better ska albums I’ve picked up recently, and is certainly a breath of fresh air for those who are getting weary of the myriad of punk-ska bands out there. The recording itself is smooth as a baby’s ass, but proves as powerful as a kick in the nuts. All awful puns aside, you really should runforyerlife to get this.

Jump Up! Records, 4409 1/2 Greenview, Suite 2W, Chicago, IL 60640;

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