Ballyhoo!: Daydreams


Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let's get this disclaimer out of the way: I've never been a big fan of reggae. Actually, I better rephrase that: I'm currently not a big fan of reggae. I get that there's a whole cultural vibe that goes along with the reggae scene, but it's never appealed to me. The music seems overly simplistic and, from the outside looking in, there doesn't seem to be much variety across the board. As a result, if you are a fan of reggae, you should take at least half of this review with a big grain of salt. This is that half. When Ballyhoo! focuses solely on the reggae side of things, their music, while well-written and well-performed, is mostly forgettable. 

And so it's on songs like album openers "Evil Penguin" and "Last Night" where I enjoyed the diversity of Ballyhoo!'s sound. When they branch out and incorporate other influences, the music simply gets more interesting. It's worth noting that the addition of other styles doesn't feel out of place. When they work in elements of rock, ska, and punk (not necessarily all in the same song), it feels organic and well-placed. So it's obvious these guys know what they're doing. They're good songwriters and lead singer Howi Spangler has a terrific voice. Shoot, he gets bonus cool points for having a last name that's one vowel away from being Harold Ramis' character in Ghostbusters. 

So I'm left torn by this album, simply because Ballyhoo! has the ability to create enjoyable music that fuses various styles in a catchy mix. But when the reggae comes to the forefront, I simply lose interest. If you're a fan of reggae, you definitely need to check this out. If you're a fan of the other styles mentioned, just make sure that you adjust your expectations accordingly.

Jeremy Hunt
Review by Jeremy Hunt
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