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Overlooked in 2017: Destroy Babylon’s “Shapeshifters”

In the spirit of not letting good music go unnoticed, we present to you the first (and possibly only, we’ll see how this goes) in our “Overlooked in 2017” series. Last year was not the best year for Boston Ska (dot) net. We kept the calendar up to date, but giving airtime to great bands and releases fell by the wayside. Our bad.

However, 2017 was a very productive year for the Beaudette brothers and their portfolio of projects. We cannot say enough good things about their side project, The Flying Vipers, and their recent cassette release. However, we would be doing the band and our readers a disservice if we didn’t talk about the latest release by Destroy Babylon, their primary project. Last June, the band released “Shapeshifters,” an adventurous 12-song album with the perfect blend of reggae, dub, and rock. I’ve had it in steady rotation since it’s release.

 

Like any great album, I hear something new with every listen. The shared vocal responsibilities and the not-so-subtle lyrics–the record was released about 6 months into the current presidency–keep me coming back for more. The band has a real knack for knowing when to keep the arrangements tight and when to space out. The hooks are tight and the jammy moments know exactly when to come and go.

The band produced a video for the first track, “Protection,” one of the album’s standout high energy songs. It may come off as a departure, but it’s definitely the same band putting their spin on post-punk drums and a fuzzy psych-rock guitar hook that never lets up. The video is downright disturbing, taking 50’s footage of kids playing cops and robbers. The original video looks like fodder for a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 short entitled something like “The NRA Presents: Guns Are Our Friends.” The visuals of young children loading revolvers paired with the lyrics make for a haunting experience.

The album is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and just about everywhere else you might listen to music. The second track, “Judgement” is available on a 7-inch split with The Macrotones. This song, in stark contrast with “Protection” showcases the band’s reggae chops and a more mellow approach to equally sharp lyrics.

We look forward to what 2018 might have in store for this collective of musicians! You can find the band on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Watch our calendar for any of their upcoming shows in the Boston area.


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Jacob Wake Up!

Jacob Wake Up! is managing editor of Boston Ska (dot) net. He's been going to ska shows since high school and never looked back. Jake lives in Roslindale and works in communications by day. You can see him perform with The New Limits or strike up conversation with him at a local ska show.

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