Perhaps in homage to DC’s ska-jazz band Eastern Standard Time, Denver’s The Dendrites named their album Mountain Standard Time. Like EST, MST is a technically competent but not terribly exciting band.
The Dendrites play instrumental trad ska with repetitive riffs and long solos. The rhythm section often picks things up, but while I like organ with my ska, there are few hooks here. Clearly, they’re familiar with my hero Jackie Mittoo, but even Mittoo looked to Booker T and contemporaries of his time for catchy melodies.
In some ways, it’s good to hear a band like The Dendrites today in 2009. But in 1999, I was thoroughly unimpressed with jazzy ska trad bands that did nothing new. Amazing to think that even after 40 years of songwriting history and pop sensibility, today’s ska trad bands still can’t stack up against the ska tunes of 1969.
Bottom Line: Capable but not fun.
Notable Tracks: Maiden Voyage, Street Walkin’, Press