Random Hand - Inhale / Exhale
Well here is the first album of the year that actually sets the standards for all those to follow. Yorkshire lads Random Hand have been setting the punk and ska community alight with their great blend of crossover music and immediately to see from the offset of Inhale / Exhale, their second album with 12 angry in your face anthem style tracks.
What hits you is the way the four piece manage to swing from full on punk to ska without being disjointed and they make it sound like the two blends of music were a match made in heaven.
On first listen I thought the trombone was going to start to grate a little but I could not have been more wrong. It creates a certain amount of uniqueness that keeps you locked in all the way from start to finish. What makes it even more impressive is that lead singer, Robin Leitch, is the one playing it and from hearing his vocal style he must be one exhausted front man at the end of a gig.
The album kicks off with 'I Human' one of the heavily trombone influenced songs but also fuelled with aggressive undertones. The trombone makes the link into 'The Right Reasons' seamlessly despite being a more punk anthem style. The title of the third track, 'Anger Managemen't, makes you think it will be an all out aggressive song, well the lyrics might be but this is one of the more ska with a hint of dub influenced songs. Good to see the vocal talents of Mr Leitch can do both perfectly well.
There are some political messages within some of the songs such as 'British' with its chorus “Stand up for the anthem, salute for the flag, respect the monarch or push it back” and I have to agree with the anti racism message they put over in this song, heavy stuff.
There are plenty of tracks that are full on all the way through with no hint of the ska influence, like 'Roots In The Crowd' and it is that diversity that has kept the album on regular play on my ipod, 45 minutes of musical pleasure.
Having played Reading / Leeds last year Random Hand are not holding back this year having already played what seems like every day in January this year up and down the country and with plenty more gigs already lined up they are taking their impressive stuff to the entire nation. I know where I will be the next time they hit London.