by RACHEL SIEMENS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & R & lt;/span & eggae is supposed to be dead. Along with punk, jazz, and anything else once of a very specific, very timely consequence. Of course there are those times when it comes back, mainly in the form of obnoxious teenagers blasting Marley's "One Love" on their iPods in early summer, remarking to their friends about this "great new band" they just discovered (the band, of course, being The Wailers). Eventually that enthusiasm fades with the summer and we all go back to our lives post-reggae. A vicious cycle, but the only one we have, right?
Wrong! Actually, options have been created, and by none other than the Canadians. Bedouin Soundclash started out like many bands do, as friends who met in college and traded albums. Yes, it's a well-worn path where the only possible conclusion could be to form a band. And so they did. Good thing too, because now music lovers everywhere get to experience a less poppy more traditional form of ska-reggae.
"We felt that ska music, especially in North America, has been really misrepresented with stuff that happened in the early '90s," says lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Jay Malinowski. And he is exactly right. What good came from '90s ska? I know we all had big hopes for Gwen Stephani but LAMB dashed those soundly.
The Toronto trio has been around four years, and they have only recently started to gain attention in the U.S. -- most likely due to their recent debut on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, that all-too-engrossing show we plan our Thursday evenings around. One that Malinowski hasn't even seen. I know, try to contain your gasps. Pop culture illiteracy aside, Malinowski and his band create some honestly danceable tunes.
His voice is raspy (like he may possibly have a lifelong case of laryngitis) and his guitar provides a secure, easy sound. Eon Sinclair's bass gives us a healthy dose of dub, and Pat Pengelly's drums drive the beat. Sinclair and Pengelly provide vocal backup from time to time, and their smoother voices harmonized with Malinowski's rasp create an interesting contrast. In the end their sound comes together to create a reggae-dub-punk feel that teeters between the camps of the traditional and something entirely new. It's a blend of contagious, summery music that will please both the forever-indie and the mainstream-till-I-die crowds.
Malinowski views the music they model their sound after as "soul music from a different country." The music created by Bedouin Soundclash is truly that: soulful, honest reggae from, well, Canada. What's not to (one) love?
Bedouin Soundclash with OAR at Big Easy Concert House on Tuesday, June 19 at 6:30 PM. $20-22.50. Call 244-3279.