Hepcat: Push ‘n Shove

Hepcat: Push n Shove

Push ‘n Shove is another smooth installment of rocksteady Jamaican roots music. Don’t say “Ska” because you won’t be getting the picture. Push ‘n Shove picks up where Right on Time left off, with 14 tracks of island beats and horn sections. Each Hepcat release is more polished than the previous. Push ‘n Shove is their slickest effort to date. I’d guess that there was some experimentation in the studio that was used to mix some low-fi recording techniques with modern equipment. The result is subtle, but it really takes Push ‘n Shove to a higher level that typical revival-style bands don’t approach. Were it not for the flawless recordings, you’d be hard pressed to tell if this was a recent release or one from back in the day. “The Region” sounds like it could have come straight from the likes of Desmond Dekker. The result Not all of the tracks on Push ‘n Shove are strictly based on early traditional Jamaican music. Hepcat added some Latin grooves in the song “Beautiful.”

One of the strongest tracks, “Prison of Love” is a heavy one that might make listeners remember hearing the Specials’ “Ghost Town”. It’s not the melody, but more of a similarity in the emotional overtone. Some of the most interesting parts of Push ‘n Shove are the dub-flavored interludes and intros. As good as they are, Push ‘n Shove doesn’t explore them more thoroughly. This is disappointing but somewhat understandable since the general public seems to be a bit confused by dub. I believe that a collection of dub re-mixes of some of their releases to date could stand on it’s own along side more famous historical efforts. When they do dabble in dub, they seem to have a good grasp on it.

As a band, Hepcat is fun to watch. They seem to take pride in putting on a professional show with a fun atmosphere. I haven’t met any of them, but from what I’ve observed they seem to be good natured and friendly. Some of the best bands in the history of rocksteady and ska have had multi-ethnic backgrounds, and Hepcat is no different. These guys are not a bunch of genX hacks. They truly appreciate the history of the music that they are creating. Instead of merely paying tribute to a bygone era, Hepcat crafts compelling new music in the vein.

Hellcat Records
2798 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles Ca, 90026

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