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CD Review: Bedouin Soundclash

Where Have the Songs Played Gone To (SideOneDummy)

Considering the connotations, it's never good to refer to a group as "ska." But here goes. Bedouin Soundclash is a ska band, one that draws on everything from the up-strokes of the Specials, to traditional reggae and South African pop. Since debuting in 2001, the group's mastery of melody has earned them a rabid fan base, especially in their Canadian homeland. Where Have the Songs Played Gone To? shows a band well-versed in Jamaican styles and songwriting know-how. "Stand Alone" is the sort of bright acoustic ballad you'd expect to hear on a sunset cruise, while "Disgeneration" rides a punchy dub groove and "On My Block" recalls reggae's heyday with exclamatory horns, impassioned backing vocals and relaxed vibe. But it's Bedouin Soundclash's honest and natural performance that's most appealing. There are no hints of a group struggling to fit a ska mold, just summer-ready songs well worth a listen. — Matt Whelihan

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