The Band by Dancehall

Release date: June 15, 2018
Label: Vibe/Anti-Vibe

To do any form of post-punk high energy music you do have to fulfil one precondition – you have to have a lot of energy and transform it into meaningful, loud and listenable (danceable will do too) music. London trio Dancehall and their debut album The Band  tick all those boxes right from the starting blocks.

The first test whether the music has enough energy is whether, if played even at medium levels, it gets a reaction from your neighbours. And the Dancehall and their The Band certainly got one from mine. All of them!

The second test is how much it moves you, does it get you up from your comfy chair and make you jump or dance (at home or in the ‘dancehall’), and this one certainly did (neighbour intervention again!), even though I’m not exactly a spring chicken.

The rest of the stuff, as the quality of the playing, inspiration, lyrics, etc. You can take your pick in what matters. They all do, of course, but some of them can take a back seat, as long as the lyrics are not some mundane crap that often beleaguers many of the pun/post-punk/powerpop bands, where you can certainly categorise Dancehall.

The trio decided to record the album live to tape with a three take max rule, a wise choice if you want to transmit the high energy levels this kind of music is supposed to produce live. And Dancehall not only has that energy but are deft enough players to make those energy levels sound plausible and listenable.

So what are their cues? A bit more Fugazi, a bit less Green Day, and possibly Blur in their louder moments, with a few other noiseniks thrown in for a good measure. Originality? You can answer that one with another question – with this kind of music if it sounds good, should you really care? After all, they open the album with something called ‘KO’ which boasts the line “Just play 3 notes/And sing 2 notes”.

Still, they don’t go down with just any words thrown in (try ‘Burn’), nor do they strictly stick to the angular guitar kick, throwing in a bit of powerpop, even shoegaze of ‘Droners’, not to make this 30 minutes a monotonous experience, not even a brief one.

Deciding whether you want to pick up Dancehall and their The Band depends on what you feel at the moment and whether you want to pick up an energy drink or this album, or, preferably, whether you need to irritate your neighbours, at least for half an hour. In any of those cases, this would be a good choice!

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