Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1-Stop-Experience - Peeping Tom

1-Stop-Experience is a group that combines the styles of Ska and reggae with Latin and jazz elements to create a spicy musical mix.

The band is made up of performers from a variety of former groups.

On tha album Jennie Matthias of the 80’s all-girl group the Belle Stars is on lead vocals. Skip McDonald plays lead guitar. Chico Chagas is on keyboards and synthesizer. Paget King is on keyboards and programming. Jim Dobson plays rhythm guitar. Martin Sawtell is on the bass. Damon Brown plays trumpet with additional horns provided by Crispy Horns. Winston Marche lays out the drumbeats. The production mix is by Adrian Sherwood.

On the road, Martin Stuart (of Bad Manners) plays keyboards. Lenny Bignell and Dredy Madoo (of Pama International) are on lead guitar and drums respectively. Ruby Fortune is on backing vocals. And Jim Dobson, Martin Sawtell, Damon Brown and Jennie Matthias all reprise their recording roles.

Peeping Tom is the title of 1-Stop-Experience’s debut album, released on their own label. The songs come from a number that the group has been performing for a few years now. They are out promoting the CD which is currently climbing the Top 20 Reggae charts in the UK.

They start things off with “Untouchable”, a bouncy little number about a high profile celebrity diva that is beyond approach. I love how this one could be about any number of people who are hounded by all the entertainment shows and magazines. It has just the right touch of catty sarcasm to it.

“Peeping Tom”, a piece about voyeurism, has a smoky, seductive mood to it that pulls you right in. It reminds me of a noir film set in the 30‘s or 40‘s. It has a modern touch too, especially when you consider the growing number of paparazzi and the popularity of such shows as TMZ and the prevalence of CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras that are cropping up everywhere.

“Headless Chicken” points out that a fast-paced, stressed life-style is not good for anyone. At times it is best to just kick back and chill, and listening to the music of 1-Stop-Experience is a perfect way to do that, in my opinion. The Ska blends always relax me, with the island rhythms and the smooth horns.

“Fame Game (Knows Your Name)” is another track that comments on the cult of celebrity, the rise and fall of idols in the arena of public opinion. I like the cha-cha rhythm to this one; it puts me in a dancing mood.

“Hope” is a little something that we all can use every now and then. And this song is full of optimism and positive thinking. It is refreshing to hear in music.

“Didn’t Listen” kicks the tempo back into high gear; it instantly gets my heels bouncing. I like the line “I think you’re past our sell by date right now” - very clever.

The next track “Glass House” saunters in with an air of confidence and style. As regular readers of the blog know, I am a big fan of the saxophone but the trumpets on these songs are also very entrancing as well. I also like how the chorus is made of little rhymes that every school kid has recited a dozen times over. Some universal truths and lessons never go out of style.

“Freaks Out” brings back those island rhythms and sounds with a modern twist. I quickly found myself singing along with Jennie on the very catchy chorus of this one.

“Without Love” has a haunting sound to it on the verse, while the chorus has a very western-European traditional dance rhythm to it (one that gets faster and faster as the song progresses). It is as if the band took a side-trip to Fiddler on the Roof. This was definitely an unexpected surprise of a track.

“Bring It On” is another positive song, this time about finding the strength and energy to face whatever challenges the future has to throw at us.

I just love the title of the next track “Mentally Ska’d”; it really makes me smile for some reason. This one is all about finding that perfect state of mind, a carefree freedom where you can just go dance the night away and have fun.

“And I Said” is about making the world a better place, a Heaven on Earth. I like how the tempos go from slow verses to more rapid choruses. It gives the song a stop-and-go approach.

“Love” is very much a celebration of that wonderful and mysterious emotion.

The album closes with “Don’t Wanna Be”, a song about ending a relationship that is no longer working.

If you want to check out the sounds of 1-Stop-Experience yourself, look no further than their ReverbNation page (which you can reach by clicking here). You will find all of the songs from this album there to sample via streaming, along with lyrics and videos.

You can also follow Jennie on her Twitter ID (click here) - she is delightful to chat with.

Peeping Tom is available in a number of outlets, including downloads on iTunes, Amazon.com and emusic.com. So if you’re a fan of Ska, reggae, and (like me) of Jennie’s former group the Belle Stars (click here and here for reviews of some of those albums respectively), you definitely want to check this one out.

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