Deal's Gone Bad - Far from Home [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Deal's Gone Bad

Far from Home [7-inch] (2011)


Chicago, Illinois's Deal's Gone Bad have amassed a disarmingly devout following even while remaining fiercely independent, DIY, and committed to the United States underground ska scene.

The Far from Home 7-inch combines two tracks, freshly recorded and produced by the band in their own Windy City studio and released in DIY punk fashion with a limited run of 500 copies. While Side A's title track is a Deal's Gone Bad original, Side B is the band's take on the timeless Otis Redding tune, "These Arms of Mine".

"Far from Home" is a sprightly, soulful song of equal parts rocksteady rhythm and Motown oomph. Slightly reminiscent of Hellcat reggae rockers like Westbound Train and the Aggrolites, the track has a throwback vibe and some nice melodies, as crooner Todd Hembrook sings "Home is not always where the heart is / Home might only be inside your head." The only complaint that could be lodged against the song is its conspicuous lack of horns, but the following track more than makes up for it in that department.

On "These Arms of Mine", the Otis Redding classic morphs into a bouncing rocksteady jam with an opulence of horns, jiving keys, and as much soul as could be packed into the seven inches of vinyl. Not only is the song perhaps obviously a superior (or at least acclaimed) composition, the musicianship is far more impressive than the competent-but-routine playing of Side A.

While only a small sample platter of what Deal's Gone Bad has to offer, the Far from Home 7-inch is a nice stopgap to satisfy fans until the proper followup to the band's 2007 full-length arrives.