Hepcat - Right On Time (Cover Artwork)


Right On Time (1997)


In one sense, I am glad ska blew up in the mainstream, because it helped to introduce me to bands like the group I am currently reviewing. On the other hand, I find myself pretty angry, as the saturation of ska had negative effects as well. For one, people tend to think that RBF and LTJ are the epitome of ska, and that if you don't like those bands, then you don't like ska, period.

Bands as skilled as Hepcat are few and far between. HC don't play 3rd wave ska-punk-pop. They don't have the marching band horn section, they don't have the frantic upbeats or the power chords, and they sing about topics that don't include beer and sex. Instead, Hepcat are directly influenced by the ska of the late 50's and early 60's Jamaica. Their 3 vocalists ( Greg Lee, Desmond Berry and Alex Desert) provide exceptional harmonies throughout this disc. Each piece of music is carefully planned out, and executed smoothly. The horns don't blast, but rather they melt easily into the overall sound, carrying the melody instead of forcing it. The rest of the band follows suit, making for an incredible listening experience.

Some of the standout tracks include upbeat tunes like "I Can't Wait", "No Worries", and "Rudies All Around". On the slower side, check out "Goodbye Street", "Mama Used to Say", and "Baby Blues". The best part about this CD is that it can appeal to so many kinds of people, beyond the average ska fan. This CD is a hit with reggea fans, punk fans and R&B fans.

I highly recommend this CD, even if you aren't a fan of ska. Im willing to bet that most people have a certain perception of ska music that may or may not include the likes of Hepcat. Forget your RX Bandits and your Buck-0-9 for the moment...this is as close as most any band in the 3rd wave has come to authentic ska. Along with the Slackers, The Dave Hillyard Rocksteady 7 and others, Hepcat are helping ska save face. I like RBF as much as the next guy, I love them in fact, but sometimes, you gotta take it down a notch, and thats why Hepcat is so perfect.