Sound: Although known as a 'British Ska band', Random Hand brings to the scene music that doesn't follow the usual rules of ska, but a fusion of influences from many different genres like reggae, punk, metal, hip hop and dub with ska to bring a fresh, lively selection of songs that I could quite easily leave on repeat all day.
The quality at which they perform on 'Change of Plan', aswell as the energy and passion projected in this album (released in 2007 bringing great reviews and near constant touring with other ska bands) is immense and I can guarantee you that their live shows are just as tight and spot on (but I still suggest going to see them live to witness the energy and humour that goes into their physical performances on stage as well), and also will not weaken at any point throughout. So, when you've listened to it, you just want to listen again!
Heavier tracks such as 'Anthropology' and 'Answers really make their presence felt, while chorus's of slower songs like 'Danger Makes Enemies' creates this incredible sense of rawness, grittiness, might and huge impact, that might just make you hold your breath in order to take in the epic-ness! // 10
Lyrics: I, personally, really enjoy the lyrics used throughout this album, and the blatant thought that has gone into them makes the songs even more enjoyable. What with the lyrical themes being of gritty, realistic views and somewhat of a 'sociopolitcal nature', the music and words come together perfectly, with the music emphasising certain words and flowing with each line.
The vocalist, Robin Leitch, who also doubles up as trombonist, switches between smooth singing, fast tempo -almost rapping, and harsh pronounciation of words, to some fantastic pieces on trombone with ease, bringing another exciting, interesting element to 'Change of Plan' and Random Hand. Also, with two other capable singers in the band in the form of Matthew Crosher (guitar) and Joe Tilston (Bass) they have some brilliant advantages in a big sound in the form of numerous gang vocal sections and plenty of oooooo's! // 9
Overall Impression: 'Scum Triumphant', 'Play Some Ska' and 'Anthropology' are a few of my favourite tracks on this album, with 'Scum Triumphant' having an incredibly catchy chorus providing a brilliant place for some gang vocals, 'Play Some Ska' acting as the perfect opener to the album and 'Anthropology' for its heaviness, contrasting greatly with steadier ska sections of the album.
This album creates interesting contrasts and changes style numerous times within, making it so exciting to listen to, especially with the structures of the songs changing rapidly. These are songs that you find something new to like each time you listen to it.
What do I hate about it?! There aren't enough songs! In all honesty though, I think that I'd be hard pushed to find a fault with this album.
And so we reach the end of this review!
I'm a huge fan of ska music, but while other bands from the ska genre continue to play steady tracks with a very laid back approach to the genre, Random Hand and their debut album 'Change of Plan' are bring a refreshing lift and new approach to the ska scene attracting a wider audience. Alongside 'Change of Plan,' The Flatliners' 'Destroy to Create' sits on my CD rack, although slightly different in sounds and techniques and of nationality, I find that both albums are similar in the way that their approach to the ska genre doesn't abide by the rules, but creates a lively sound whilst still showing that the ska influence is definitely present.
This album is guaranteed to have you skankin', moshing, headbanging and wrecking in the space of a couple of seconds of eachother, or maybe at the same time! // 10