Disco Balls – Rise & Shine

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Disco Balls

Rise & Shine - Self Released

Leave it to Eastern Europe to pump out competent ska bands even in 2012.  Hailing from Prague, fun loving quartet Disco Balls fuses two of the deadest genres around – ska and disco – with a hint of jazz for one of the fresher takes on modern brass.  The female vocals make for a throwback to Dancehall Crashers era 90’s stage performances, distancing themselves from the tired, “flogging a dead horse” styled tunes that Reel Big Fish has abused over the past decade.

Their sophomore full-length, Rise & Shine, offers up twelve memorable ska tunes featuring their own unmistakable style.  “What’s There To Love” kicks off with their sizeable brass section making a big band entrance, ushering in the shared interplay of Anča Buclatý Knedlíček’s girly sweet vocals with a male guest spot, and setting a deep jazzy groove intended for the dance floor.  But the funky guitar licks setting out “Beat” upstage the performance with a high-energy, hip-shaking number sure to get the body moving.  As evidenced a track later in “Queen Of Soul,” Disco Balls get the balance between their genres just right as they scale back for a casual little number that does more than just break up the energizing upstroke driven tempo.  They even tackle more conventional alternative guitar strokes in “Heart Of Stone.”

Songs like “How Do You Feel?”, with their big, cartoony horns and sings along chorus, make a case for checking out Disco Balls in a live setting.  Stage presence has always been a key indicator for ska acts, and I’d have a hard time imagining Rise & Shine translating to anything but a killer party.

With their fun loving mix of lively tunes and genres, Disco Balls distances themselves from the many pitfalls and stereotypes of conventional ska.  In keeping with their heritage of influences, a few more generic tunes inevitably surface from time to time (“Music Star” and “Place Your Hands” I’m looking at you), but they’re hardly enough to dampen the remainder of Rise & Shine’s uplifting and energizing playlist.  All in all, a fun but never overly forceful release worth checking out if you have any fond memories of ska.