Album Review: Melbourne Ska Orchestra - Sierra-Kilo-Alpha

13 April 2016 | 3:35 pm | Liz Giuffre

"Sonic escapism at its best."

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There's such a big sound with the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, yet not a note out of place or in the way.

Openers Escher and Sans Humanite are upbeat and frantic, while the album's first single Funkchunk! appears three tracks in and is relatively sedate in terms of pacing and instrumentation. If its aim is to get audiences in slowly with a type of sly horn-led cheekiness that Mike Patton on a good day would be jealous off, then well done. Bombay Detective follows on in a similar vein while Sly Boots sounds like the soundtrack for James Bond's grocery shopping (in the best possible way). Solitary Island Sway is also a standout — sexy in its simplicity while also bloody appealing in terms of its romantic view of time out. Sonic escapism at its best. The muted horns leading in Special Thing also create a great draw, with the rest of the track offering a simple call and response around the instrumental theme. Rounding out the album is Satellite, a particularly playful piece of science fiction that’s also catchy as hell.

The whole album is really fun, but this one would be especially so on a dancefloor. Final track Vespa Ska rounds off the collection nicely — a cute instrumental getting listeners ready for the next instalment. Given the long time it took to get to their debut album, let’s hope this album gets its next part just as quickly as it followed up the debut. Getting the group together no doubt is an effort — but what a return.