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Big D and the Kids Table - Fluent in Stroll (Cover Artwork)

Big D and the Kids Table

Big D and the Kids Table: Fluent in StrollFluent in Stroll (2009)
Side One Dummy Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Big D and the Kids Table have always challenged themselves within their ska tunes, bouncing from ska-punk to two-tone to techno to hip-hop to the Salem witch trials over the years. With their new full-length Fluent in Stroll, the Boston band takes on two new skancepts, with the first being LOVE. Ska.
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Big D and the Kids Table have always challenged themselves within their ska tunes, bouncing from ska-punk to two-tone to techno to hip-hop to the Salem witch trials over the years. With their new full-length Fluent in Stroll, the Boston band takes on two new skancepts, with the first being LOVE. Ska songs about romance are perfect for summer, and Fluent in Stroll delivers another in a series of strong albums from the D. It's also the first D record that isn't a tribute to a style, but rather a new innovation called "stroll," a mix of double-dutch, ska, reggae and soul. The band's punk elements are pretty much gone -- most noticeably on tracks like "Stop, Look & Listen (Shake Life Up)" and "Known to Be Blue" -- and this new sunny, fun genre complements the love songs better.

The fellas receive further help with their odes to the opposite sex from backing vocal group the Doped Up Dollies. The quartet announces their presence right away on Track 1, "Doped Up Dollies on a One Way Ticket to Blood." They get fun times rolling with Internet references and schoolyard rhymes. Frontman David McWane carves out a little vocal niche for himself, describing his special lady friend as "See my mujer impressionante is known to dance / with sleeping feline eyes / 'Cause she's a long cat / a sly cat / Not someone going your way / She's quite a little ninja / My tough little ninja." Later in the song, McWane and his chick escape on an elephant after busting a crime, which explains the ninja bit. Also, yeah, this song is awesome. The Dollies are a welcome addition to the group, enhancing the D's songs without cluttering them up. From the dubious boozing advice of "A Kiss a Week" to the posi-love jam "We Can Live Anywhere!" to the raucous lecturing of the title track, the Dollies provide a highlight in a record already full of 'em. I hope the lasses tour with the band and, if so, serve up their own interpretations to the band's older material.

Not that the record lives and dies on the Dollies' breath. "Describing the Sky" recycles the horn section from "Shining On," but it's a good part, so the song gets a passing grade. Big D deserves an A+, however, for Track 3, "Not Fucking Around." Hit with a series of ridiculous hypothetical questions meant to test his fidelity, McWane fires back with brilliant responses. My favorite Q and A is the first verse: "If I found myself stranded on an island with six million girls / Well I'd put them all to work / We'd build a kickass sailboat / To get me back to you / See I'm not fucking around." The song also recalls "Shining On," if only because two years later, McWane is finally ready to say, "I'm damn well smart / And I know what I got / And I won't be fucking around." "Where Did All the Women Go?" is another statement of fidelity, with McWane going from being awash in wrong girls to seeing his one 'n' only. It's another in a series of airy, cool jams.

Big D has always been good at closing out their records, and like "Moment Without an End" and "She Knows Her Way" before it, "We Can Live Anywhere!" is a damn fine hummable finale. A welcome upswing after the lumbering, slightly disappointing "My Thoughts Take Me Away," the song condenses Away We Go's optimism and romance into three minutes, 41 seconds, and without all those uncomfortable scenes about miscarriages and vaginal flavor. A haunting saxophone jazz solo segues into a rolling drum beat, chiming voices and McWane's assurance that "We can live anywhere / Pack your your things up c'mon let's go / Didn't you know we own this world? / Yeah we can live anywhere." Plenty of political artists from the Bush era have struggled to find something to say in the Obama age, but Big D and the Kids Table successfully bring hope 'n' change on this track.

To a certain extent, Fluent in Stroll shouldn't shake up listeners quite as much as Strictly Rude. The band's break from punk is complete, bringing them closer to the English Beat than Less Than Jake. And while there isn't a single "Checklist" or "L.A.X." to rock the mix, Fluent in Stroll is a cohesive record. The title has a double meaning -- this is a band comfortable with its style and its meaning, not to mention enough sense to avoid power ballads.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - London CallingThe Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsBig D And The Kids Table - How It GoesOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAlkaline Trio - This AddictionDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RLess Than Jake - Borders & Boundaries [reissue]Dead To Me - Moscow Penny AnteBanner Pilot - Heart Beats Pacific

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
OffspringKickAss (May 16, 2012)

This band makes me happy that there is still good music coming out in this generation. This band just kicks ass without even trying and some songs make me horny as fuck.

bdub (August 17, 2009)

It needs less "Big D" and more "the Kids Table" This album left me confused. I was definitely hoping they would go in a different musical direction than this. However, the songs were catchy, and those dollies were hot. Really hot.

hart0 (August 15, 2009)

I've been listening to big d for a while now, and they're one of my favorite bands. i'm sorry but if u don't like shining on, you're fucking retarded. but this record is so mediocre. its the only way to describe it. out of all the tracks i only found 5 tolerable ones(after force listening to the album for an entire week). big d, please re-write strictly rude rather than be all dependent and artistically relevant. its just annoying. and even though i'll admit that the one background singer is really hot, its just simply not necessary. one record, okay. but if the next big d record is this shitty i'll have to stop paying attention to their new stuff completely.

skalastic (August 13, 2009)

How hard is it to realize that these guys are just great, fun musicians. If you notice all the reveiwers that know music do appreciate where this new style of music comes from. Big d has always told a story, trying to help kids listening to their music with a little advice about, life, love, partying and politics.They make me laugh out and talk out to myself so many times in their songs. I say thanks for a little punk attitude, a ska, ragge layed backed love of life and a great soul feel and I too, love the "ladies"

RamoneCock22 (August 3, 2009)

I love all Big D.... their old stuff is some of the best third wave ska, and now their new stuff is great tripped out more dub-inspired tunes, but Fluent in Stroll is a whole new idea! it's like Big D just created Ska-Indie, it's amazing! I loved most of it. a couple of tracks were quite blah, but all of the other songs made up for it, and has officially made it in my mind as the best album so far of 2009.

Don't expect anything too punked out, but get it anyway, if you wanna open your mind, to awesome experimental musical abilities. It is seriously like nothing that the mainstream or the underground has heard before.

It's like a revolution in ska music, and i have a feeling that this is only a taste compared to what their sixth album is gonna provide.

MeeSTa3k (July 28, 2009)

I don't hate this, and I didn't hate Strictly Rude, but this band should've broken up after How It Goes and started a new band if they wanted to completely change their sound. Score is for never seeing the songs I first fell in love with at shows ever again.

i-type-poorly (July 27, 2009)

I like that song too. I listened to the album for the third time today, and it's still really enjoyable. The only track I skip is "chin up, boy" because the lyrics annoy me. If consistency was what I went by, this would be the best Big D album by far. How it Goes still has my heart, though, even though it has way more throwaway songs.

paulrulzdood (July 27, 2009)

"doped up dollies on a one-way ticket to blood" is one of the most brilliant songs i've heard this year.

sorry to hear that many of you are too narrow in your appreciation of music to understand what they're going for on this album. some people just can't accept stylistic change and ingenuity, and that is fine. you can stay at home. i never even wanted to catch a Big D show before this album. now they've seperated themselves from the back of generic ska-punk acts like their earlier work. now they've made something truly brilliant that you net-nerds will probably understand in a year or two.

paulrulzdood (July 27, 2009)

I think this record is fucking amazing. I was never into their old shit, so i don't care if they're not doing punk shit or whatever they used to sound like. i only have this album and Strictly Rude adn I think they're phenomenal. any old shit people have played for me just sounded boring, like generic Catch 22 ska-punk crap. this shit on the other hand is original and so bouncy. the addition of female backup vocals is amazing. they're not all great tracks, there's some duds on the second half, but my God overall it is a fun and great album with lots of variety and amazing lyrics. one of the 5 best albums i've heard this year.

Cox_Attack (July 27, 2009)

Some songs on this record I REALLY REALLY enjoy, and some I absolutely hate. The first track is also completely awful. All in all, it is very inconsistent, but Describing The Sky and Been Wishing On kick ass. Reminds me of some late 90s Moon Ska stuff. Score is for the album.

notfeelingcreative (July 26, 2009)

Love this record.

Jelone (July 26, 2009)

Hey_Asshole - I like Salem Girls too! Air five! There's no defending Porch Life though.

mattramone - Most of my "real life" friends think I hate everything, so, honestly, thanks for the compliment. It kind of made my day.

Er'rybody else - What the ef, bra?

ilovepie (July 25, 2009)

I would also probably like this album a lot better if it didn't sound like it was written all in one day.

Hey_Asshole (July 25, 2009)

am i the only person who liked Salem Girls? seriously.

telegraphrocks (July 25, 2009)

I definitely wouldn't call this crap. Salem Girls is fucking crap. Porch Life is fucking crap.
This just isn't that great.

fattony (July 25, 2009)

I don't fault bands for trying something new. But I do fault them for making shitty music, and these guys followed up the best album of their career with their worst.

Side note: I hate when bands try something that's *this* different from prior material, because you inevitably get fanboys who dismiss any and all negative opinions as simply hating it when bands try something new.

marko630 (July 25, 2009)

You got to be fucking kidding me. I've waited for someone to review this album, and this is what happens? I listened to the damn thing front to back, 3 times, and hated myself for doing it. This is one of my favorite bands, and they completely let me down. Whoever reviewed this must be blowing someone in the band because this album is GARBAGE. Not only have you let me down Big D, you've let your fans and Boston down. Shame on you.

mattramone (July 25, 2009)

Leave it to Jelone to give a good score to this garbage.

Hey_Asshole (July 25, 2009)

gimper, this is far from a "pure ska" record

i-type-poorly (July 24, 2009)

I am enjoying this album a lot. It sounds so much more original and honest than Strictly Rude. Dave sings about girls way too much, but I guess that will never change. Nice chill album, forget the haters.

thegimper (July 24, 2009)

Best review I've read on this website in a long time. Couldn't have said anything better myself. This is the best pure ska album of the year.

mikeva (July 24, 2009)

big d has always been tolerable at best. this is cringe worthy.

Hey_Asshole (July 24, 2009)

i can not speak for anyone else, but i am not shitting on them for doing something new.

i just find this record boring

R3vengeTherapy (July 24, 2009)

I haven't heard this. I used to like Big D in high school, although a few years later when Strictly Rude came out I listened and thought it was entertaining for a ska record.

But it's always funny to me when I see tons of comments where people shoot a band down for trying something very different. The review makes me want to check it out, kind of.

Score is for bands that evolve, instead of writing the same records 10 times over.

Hey_Asshole (July 24, 2009)

here is my two cents...if any record is going to break this band into the mainstream, this is it.
this is not a bad record, by any means, but it is nowhere near as strong as any of their old records.

while not being any longer than their other records (in fact, shorter than "How It Goes") it felt very long winded. there was an overall lack of quality. the lyrics were boring, musically it was either very mellow or very poppy.

while the more dub influenced songs were generally good, the pop songs were generally bad. the minute long jazz track sounded like shit. also, there is no punk to speak of on this record, like, AT ALL. overall, it was forgettable.

it also felt like the horn section lost a little bit of what made them fucking great.

this is an ok record. unfortunately, the replay value is low. i have listened to it once, and have not felt the desire to do so again. meanwhile, i will still rock the fuck out to every other release they have

mattbeall (July 24, 2009)

I'm pretending this never happened.

Jakeadiah (July 24, 2009)

score is for dave mcwane's girlfriend.

messyblumpkin (July 24, 2009)

thanks for ruining the movie.

i really liked this album. nothing like their older stuff, but still good, especially "not fucking around".

jacknife737 (July 24, 2009)

It's really not that bad; good even.

It can't top what they did with Strictly Rude; but some of the songs on it are their best work.

ryanky (July 24, 2009)

Not my favorite. i still think How It Goes is the best. The first time i listened to this i thought, "what the hell is going on?", but it grows on you after a while. the only problem i have with the review is that i think this one will shake up fans tons more than Strictly Rude did

telegraphrocks (July 24, 2009)

The songs are beyond-horrible individually, but when I listen to the album as a whole it's a lot more entertaining.... almost fun.

However, Strictly Rude is still their best work... the older shit is as cheesy as Fluent In Stroll.

Also: Anyone going to see the movie ORPHAN?
The twist at the end is that she's really 33 years-old...
Give me a hug.

Cos (July 24, 2009)

I always thought H2O repeatedly said that they were really proud of GO and that Todd Friend said it was his favorite record.

punk_sk (July 24, 2009)

Someone quick, hide this from the gimper.

Bryanmatic (July 24, 2009)

Big D sucks now.

Everytime you see H2O now, they apologize for how utterly horrible "Go" was. I expect the same thing from Big D in a few albums...

...that is if they stay together long enough to have a return to form...

ilovepie (July 24, 2009)

more like Big Disappontment and the Kids Table.

danperrone (July 24, 2009)

this is one of the worst albums i have heard in a long time. i dare you to play the first track for your friends and tell them that you like it. you won't have friends anymore.

i don't get how they could make such a bad album, considering they used to be a pretty good band...

Babrook (July 24, 2009)

Score is for the record.

btw, i hardly consider 'boom goes the dynamite' an internet reference.

hello-rockview (July 24, 2009)

i havent heard this yet, and i dont know if i want to.
the reviews have all been good for it that i've read but everyone i know who's heard it can't say anything good about it.
Big D always had that punk rock attitude about em even when they were doing reggea or rap(i love that album)
Dave is my favorite front man and a great dude (he let me sing "You Lost Your Crazy" with em) but i just dont know if i can get into it

NewKid (July 24, 2009)

This record is good. I hate the songs they released on the internet alone, but upon hearing them in context of the album, they were a lot more enjoyable. I love the b-52's vibe they have on these tracks, plus its a great summertime jam. The songs fit well into their live show. They flow well with the older material. Excited for this release and to see a longer set than Warped Tour permits.

Eric

Ragdoll (July 24, 2009)

I listened to some previews and I'm slightly intrigued. Still, I'll probably pass on this one unless someone gives it to me. It doesn't live up to their superior middle body of work.

Bryne (July 24, 2009)

So, so disappointing.

africansk8er (July 24, 2009)

It's not their best, but it's still fantastic. A totally different kind of album and I'm okay with that.

jo_punk_promoter (July 24, 2009)

i wasnt sure at all when i heard the first tracks a couple of months ago but i gotta agree with Jelone, it's a pretty good album actually, not better than Strictly Rude, which is one of my favorite ska records ever, but good in his own way.

ZappBrannigan (July 24, 2009)

I find the most erotic part of a woman is the boobies.

Tom_Deschlonge (July 24, 2009)

score is for ska and how utterly bad it is

the_other_scott (July 24, 2009)

i'm a bit biased because to me this band has always been absolutely awful, but i agree wholeheartedly with Dante -- there is nothing about this review that makes me want to hear the album except maybe to answer the not-so-burning question as to "what the fuck does this 'stroll' bullshit sound like?"

Dante3000 (July 24, 2009)

Even this review makes this album sound bad...Yet somehow it has a positive score.
-Dante

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