Tuesday, October 7, 2008

K-Mob "Show De Hipnosis"

K-Mob is a German band that plays smooth soulful reggae/ska. The music is infectious and the album keeps your foot stomping from start to end. Grover Records almost never puts out a bad album and this keeps with the tradition of amazing releases from this great label. "Cheap Tricks" opens up the album with an organ driven reggae tune that has the whole Slackers styled melody in it. European ska and reggae takes and borrows the best parts of the US ska/reggae scene but also uses other influences. "Sweet Love Sensation" is a grooving rocksteady number with the sweet vocals of Naima. Her vocals impart a real tenderness the same way the great Jamaican female singers like Phylis Dillon and Marcia Griffiths sang with. In an interview with Gabe she described the meaning behind the song as how you should enjoy the person your with in that time and place. And its ok if maybe you break up later, but at least you had someone to love.

The songwriting of the group is at times very personal and poignant. "Vally of Rain" is a personal reflection of a moment passed in time. Sometimes playing ska/reggae/soul songwriting becomes secondary to the music. Often times bands do not write like they are telling a story. K-Mob's songs are very well crafted and each song reflects a specific time/place/story. "Disco" opens up rather differently from the other songs it has the disco beat but then drives into a pulsating reggae groove. The way the song evolves is interesting. K-Mob finds some great grooves for example "Work Song" opens up with funky organ that just drives the song in and out. It just makes you want to get down and stomp your feet. Examining the power of ska/reggae the great bands are the ones that make you move and K-Mob knows the right recipe to make this happen.

K-Mob opens up "Better Than Them" with a little jazzy organ intro and then cuts right into another groove. The male vocals of Moritz spout the lyrics in a comforting conversational tone. Sometimes it doesn't even seem like he is even singing because the words just spill out of his mouth. "Jah Love Turn Neck" is a quick upbeat quirky short instrumental driven by their amazingly tight rhythm section. "Horrorkabinett" opens up with an intro that could be from B horror movie. One of my favorite songs on the album is "On the Green" driven by Moritz's vocals with some great hand percussion. The song itself is about the simple pleasures taken in not being tied down. "While Hanging Out" is a soulful tune that opens up with a Motown-ish beat. Most interesting to note the album ends on "Das Herz Von St. Pauli." The song begins as a traditional German song then morphs into a reggae tune. K-Mob's "Show De. Hipnosis" delivers on all fronts a fun album that can be listened and enjoyed by all fans of ska/reggae music.

In the States you can get this album from Chuck Wren at Jump Up Records.

In Europe buy it from Grover Records.


  1. A good review, but I wonder about a comment like, "European ska and reggae takes and borrows the best parts of the US ska/reggae scene". Of course it goes on, but only because that is the nature of ska and reggae and always has been. I would say it's somewhat of a chicken or the egg situation though. I expect it was just a passing remark, but I enjoy reading Musical Occupation because it doesn't have the insular connotation that is often applied to the USA and would hate that to change.

  2. Yeah Bob are you getting all patriotic on us now? Anyway, I think Bob's just talking about how musicians borrow or are influences in general.

  3. I feel I have to explain what I mean by my statement examined above by Glen.

    It is my current belief that a lot of European bands seem to be very fond of and influenced by some of the US most popular ska/reggae bands like the Slackers and Aggrolites. I was not making some "insular connotation" as was suggested.

  4. I just think it is an obvious point of debate. I realise some European bands probably are quite fond of The Aggrolites - the Caroloregians for one (though the singer is from the US), but I would claim that most of them, like the US ones, are trying to replicate an original JA sound, including the organ sound that was so popular in the UK in the late 60s and early 70s. After all, there are plenty of nights devoted entirely to that sound over here, and I would question whether the Aggrolites are necessarily responsible for the interest in that. Rather, I would say there is a broader obsession for early JA music generally, helped by the fact a lot of the Jamaicans choose to live in Europe and the amount of records available over here.

  5. As i can speak for K-Mob, we´re definitly influenced by the songwriting of the slackers. but you can find our musical influences in the whole history of ska and reggae music.


What do you think?