Big D and the Kids Table – Fluent in Stroll

Big D and the Kids Table – Fluent in Stroll

Big D and the Kids Table – Fluent in Stroll

For many bands, getting a spot on the Warped Tour comes with its approving set of benefits. Adoring fans of mainstream punk and skateboards flock the festival with the mindset of seeing “all of their favorite bands in one day.” Or so, that’s what some say; controversy aside, so it is, a band like Big D and the Kids Table has found a home for their ska-flavored, punkish strolling music. Their new album, Fluent in Stroll, does just that: strolls along on the smooth sounds ska, reggae, soul and double-dutch can make. Wait, are you confused yet, because I sure am. Full disclosure: there is not one ounce of soul music anywhere on this album, no way, no how.

What we have is a novel idea, a brave one at that, and one that doesn’t warrant fourteen songs of an entire album. The laziness of “My Thoughts Take Me Away” is all needed to conclude that there is something awfully wrong with this table. Foreign-language spoken dialect, redundant singing of the song title and energy-lacking horns add up to one failed project.

Ailing one side of the head is the fact that the best songs are lined up towards the front end of the album. Produced by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Joe Gittleman, a crisp and direct delivery is expected. “Dosed up Dollies on a One Way Ticket to Blood” creates a façade that somehow, some way, all of these combinations just might work. Female singers cheerfully sing away as those same aforesaid horns dance away with a precise knack for accuracy. But Dave McWane’s voice is what gels everything; Boston accent and all, it’s fluid and poised for whatever the ticket may lead to.

You have a song like “Known to Be Blue,” a song that is lushly capered with a jazzy trumpet and McWane’s singing. It lasts for a brief minute and then you have the joke of “Not F****** Around.” Head scratching, confused expressions and the obligatory ‘hmm…’ are induced whenever this comes on. Dying for a punch in the gut to give it some energy, the music demotes to some kind of free credit report commercial tune: forgettable, deplorable and frustrating, for sure.

The tender opening of “Chin Up, Boy!” is ecstatically optimistic. Revolving around a lad who is down on his luck, McWane sings “Well, it’s all right, it’s OK. There’s someone out there waiting for you, just waiting to meet you.” The only part that’s sung—he speaks the rest of the verses—fluctuating to singing as he pleases and for the most part, it comes off as an endearing and genuine feeling. It makes the song believable and its fruition comes in the craftiness that it possesses, not some gimmick-filled approach.

Warped Tour aside—depending on your perspective, you could run with the idea and amaze the audiences with good music—Fluent in Stroll needs to be fluent in your basic, fundamental techniques. By the time all of the saxes are lost in the puzzled compositions and eventually, it all comes to a screeching halt, there is a sudden feeling of disappointment. A disappointment in realizing that bands take these kinds of approaches to their music.

Side One Dummy Records