It’s been 3 years since Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut launched, and today, April 22 sees their sophomore album SIERRA-KILO-ALPHA touch down in stores.
“I’m pretty proud of where we are with this album,” enthuses Nicky Bomba. “There’s a presence and punchiness to it that makes us smile. To me, it’s mature songwriting, yet still having that element of sounding fresh, and that’s always a hard thing to do – I think we accepted the mission and delivered.”
The early word from reviewers is in – The Music declaring it their Album Of The Week (April 20, 2016) with Liz Giuffre describing the album as “Sonic escapism at its best.”
While Blank Gold Coast & Tom Magazine’s Trevor Jackson called it – stating “It’s playful and catchy as hell, as good ska should be, but the MSO is more than just a big wall of sound paying homage to a genre. From the outset the band wanted to incorporate many other musical elements into their sound – jazz, funk and African rhythms amongst them. … Throughout Sierra Kilo Alpha the MSO is clearly honouring the genre’s legacy, yet they never lose their sense of fun in delivering the outcome.”
John Hardaker from The Orange Press declared “The snaky, swirling melody of opener ‘Escher’ sets the mission statement – heavy on the horns, beefy on the funk, yet with enough of the dancing lightness of snap-brim ska to get your ass on the floor. Pat Powell‘s knowing vocal – as all across Sierra-Kilo-Alpha – comes across with a grin and a worldly wink.
Leading single ‘Funkchuck’ is chunky, funky and motors along on a rocksteady groove to where it’s going. ‘Bombay Detective’ opens with sitar-exotica – like so many arrangements here, it suggest a movie-for-your-mind: a thrill-ride thriller, moody, racy, noir.
‘Nothing in The Way’ has a circular, snaking riff, like the opener, ‘Escher’ which shows the quiet genius in Bomba’s horn and rhythm arrangements – nothing gets in the way of the groove, yet there is always so much to listen to on the way.
Afro-Cuban flavours sepia ‘Solitary Island Sway’ and ‘Special Thing’ while the largely instrumental ‘Vespa Ska’ has tremolo spaghetti-Western guitar setting the showdown scene. ‘Sly Boots’ (my gold star for next single) is Nutty Boy ska with a gold-plated hook.”
Hitting the top of the AMRAP regional charts with the album’s second single Funkchunk, the song was also promptly added to Double J and has enjoyed strong support from Triple J’s Roots N All & ABC local radio stations Australia-wide. Alongside all the great community radio airplay right around the country it seems Australian audiences have fully embraced the return of Melbourne Ska Orchestra to their airwaves.
Audiences can embrace Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s renowned live shows when they hit the road tonight. Starting in Queensland, before heading to Sydney, Jenolan Caves/Blue Mountains, Adelaide, hometown Melbourne, Coffs Harbour and Mullumbimby. The tour will stretch from April 22 to June 25 – full tour details available at www.melbourneskaorchestra.com – all before playing the main stage at Splendour In the Grass 2016.
Following on from the Australian release and tour, Melbourne Ska Orchestra will be heading off to the UK in August to promote Sierra-Kilo-Alpha there, with appearances at The Garage London, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Boomtown Fair and Kaya World Music Festivals.
There is a feeling of excitement building for this release and you can be assured Melbourne Ska Orchestra will follow through with an unforgettable stage performance!
In the words of John Hardaker – “The sound is huge and the band is tight; the MSO will be touring with up to 30 players, taking Sierra-Kilo-Alpha across Australia…And as throbbingly vital as this album is, you know their live shows will be through the big-top roof. Don’t miss them.”
SYN 90.7FM, Live Review: The Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Get Smart Tour, The Hi-Fi Bar, Melbourne, Laura James, 15/03/2014 The Music, Live Review: The Melbourne Ska Orchestra, The Diplomat Tour, The Factory Theatre, Sydney, Helen Lear, 19/11/2013 Glam Adelaide, Live Review: The Diplomat Tour Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Gordon Forester, 21/09/2013 The AU Review, Live Review: The Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Metro Sydney, 05/05/2013 Tonedeaf, Live Review: The Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Metro Sydney, 03/05/2013 Sydney Party People, Live Review: The Melbourne Ska Orchestra Hits the Metro, Sydney, 03/05/2013 The Music, Live Review: Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Metro Theatre Sydney, 03/05/2013 Tone Deaf, Live Review: MSO @ Zoo Twilights, 19/02/2013