Review by Scott Kelly
The sunshine state is known for many things — Mickey and Minnie Mouse running hand and hand down the beach, an oceanfront retirement home where Grandma Jean dips it low below the limbo pole, and sunrise dj sets that last until the the new week begins — so leave it to Florida to bring us a band like Beebs and Her Money Makers, embodying fully that sunny Orlando vibe. With a fun and refreshing take on the classic ska and reggae vibe, BAHMM’s newest release, Würst Album Ever, takes the skanky genre to new heights. Mixing elements of punk rock, classic ska, and reggae with hip-hop, jazz, and funk, the combination is an album worthy of the summer festival circuit and neighborhood block parties alike. Bouncing onto the scene in 2011 with the release of their EP BAHMM: Welcome to Barter Town, the band was quick to establish a following as one of Florida’s staple ska bands. Two releases were soon to follow, all holding the same intensity and musicianship as Welcome to Barter Town, and on May 24th, 2014 the group released their newest album, Würst Album Ever, again holding little back.
Right off the bat we’re greeted by BAHMM’s first single, “Out The Door.” Showcasing the rich and vibrant vocal stylings of Beebs, whose sultry and edgy voice breathe life into the group, the song is an excellent example of the group’s dynamic. Guitars sit smoothly alongside a grooving bass line and complimentary horns section, while Beebs’ heart and soul cut through effortlessly. No song would be complete without a tasteful kazoo solo, either. “Beautiful Gloom,” an upbeat remake from their first release, continues the summer vibe; an undeniable track reminiscent of old Sublime. “Running Away” is where the listener really gets an idea for the band’s prowess. Beebs’ vocal work is superb, and almost animalistic. Croaks, chirps, and barks come effortlessly, truly setting her apart as one of the ska scene’s best female vocalists. And then BAM! Horn solo. Saxophone and trumpet exchange lines with a sense of melodic virtuosity that is so rarely seen in contemporary punk/ska. E. Money (saxophone) and Bunky (trumpet) may not be the focal point of the band, but their musicianship is undeniable. “Learn” is another great example of the duo’s dynamic.
“Miss Kaptain Kangaroo,” another revamp on an old classic, takes on a dirty and gritty Black Keys/bluesy vibe, combining their signature upbeat skank motif with a darker edge. Lovelady’s guitar work is crunchy and raw, and the bass and drums support the melody perfectly. Tracks like “Jammin,” and “Dialect of Preset” continue to showcase BAHMM’s darker side while demonstrating the true range of the band’s ability. No album would be complete without a 90’s cover track, either. Enter “Waterfalls,” a fun and eclectic take on the well-known TLC song.
Admittedly, I’m not an active listener of punk rock and ska, but BAHMM’s Würst Album Ever is fun, fresh, catchy, and easy to listen to. For old school fans of Sublime, Bouncing Souls, and Reel Big Fish, the album’s familiar sound will keep listeners skanking, while also setting them apart as some of the best musicians in their scene. Booked to throw down during this year’s Warped Tour, be sure to check them out if you plan on going. Their energy is sure to be infectious.
Listen to “Running Away”