You’d be forgiven for listening to this EP and wondering how it’s ended up on a website full of reviews of ukulele music. Well there readers lies the twist… that off beat chunking ska guitar you can hear is in fact an electric ukulele. I assure you nothing in UNRB has more than four strings!
I have a soft spot for this kind of music and I challenge anyone not to start their foot a’tapping when they hear a bit of quality ska. So I was rather thrilled when I stumbled across UNRB whilst seeking out ukulele music on Bandcamp and read the words…
The band contains very unorthodox instrumentation, using an electric ukulele instead of a guitar
The band consist of a four piece brass section, a bass guitarist, a drummer and a vocalist who also plays the electric uke. The EP has four great original songs on it, nicely mixed with a mightily tight rhythm section. There are some tasty brass arrangements and indeed Noel Rochford’s vocals are pretty tasty too with a real powerful and spiky punch. Noel’s uke style is very much in the mould of the ska guitar it replaces and the eponymous title track gets straight down to business with some choppy ukulele wah wah.
They describe their music as ska-fusion and I that’s something I can agree with as I can hear all sorts of elements creeping in. Whilst the second track “Id” is clearly a ska track, the instrumental sections bring a whole bag or folk brass elements into the mix and there’s more than a nod in a rock direction.
“The House On Lime Street” with it’s rising rhythmic riff is a song you could bounce around to all night and the final track, “Figure It Out” again shows there’s so much more to this band than just banging out the clichéd ska format. The melody of this song is particularly soulful and often doesn’t go where you’d expect. The vocal harmonies are beautifully done too.
As this website is all about the ukulele it’s genuinely exciting to find a band who are clearly uke focused and happy to use it as a novelty selling point but create music that’s so good, you just forget… it’s just another instrument in the band and it shows how far the ukulele has come in recent years. Kudos fellas!
All in all this EP is exciting, bursting with energy and exquisitely recorded. It’s fabulous to see the ukulele boundaries breaking down like this and if I ever find myself in Saint Petersburg, Florida USA (for that is where you’ll find them!) I will definitely make it to one of their live shows as I suspect I’d be in for a great night.
UNRB’s Collateral Jammage EP is available to stream on the band’s Bandcamp store where you can also buy the CD or download.