The Hempsteadys - Seance! Seance! (Cover Artwork)

The Hempsteadys

Seance! Seance! (2018)


I was hooked after just one listen to the newest record by The Hempsteadys from New London, Connecticut. Actually, I was pretty convinced by the 30-second mark of the first track of Seance! Seance! The song starts with an off rhythm drum beat and a not-quite-ska sounding guitar. And when the horns kicked in, I said to myself, “Holy shit, this is awesome. Please tell me the vocals are good!” And I was not disappointed! The sound on this record is so damn good and that’s what had me sold.

Ska can be pretty messy, especially when the amount of band members reaches double digits (I think there’s 11 people in the band, but I ‘m not positive because that just doesn’t seem possible). But The Hempsteadys have got it all figured out. Self-proclaimed as the “P-Funk of Street Punk” and “The Wu-Tang Clan of Ska”, the band dances around various different elements of early ska and rocksteady, as well as Clash-infused tracks, thanks to the the punk inspired vocals.

The crazy amount of instruments are blended and mixed perfectly, which gives a more genuine and passionate feel. Horns are prevalent on all of the songs, but they never get annoying, partially because they always have a distant feel, even when they are providing the main melody. The guitars utilize the standard ska rhythm sometimes, but go off kilter often just to make sure you’re paying attention. The occasional high ping of the snare and various percussion lends more authenticity to each track. And the underlying bass and organ give a warm feel to the songs.

I tried to pick a favorite song on this album, but I just couldn’t seem to do it. Every track on this record is great. Not only do the songs sound great, they FEEL great!  It is a near perfect union of early ska/rocksteady and a punk rock aesthetic. And while some listeners may see this as a summertime record, it is album that I can and will spin anytime of the year. This is one of my favorite records of the year so far!