Managers: The Grove St Tapes (Hoi)

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Managers: Jealousy
Managers: The Grove St Tapes (Hoi)

While it's hardly a tabloid heading -- "Ska band in reggae shock!" -- it is something of a surprise to hear Auckland's long-running and popular live act shift from upbeat ska to downbeat reggae grooves on this four track EP of originals cut from the same cloth as roots reggae of four decades ago.

Singer Paul Frewin has a smooth style which suits these chipping, consciousness songs which come neatly embellished by horns, melodica and guitar parts which sit easily here . . . and alongside locals like Salmonella Dub, dDub and others.

The closer Up in Arms - which opens with jazzy piano before those old school horns come in -- is the most ska-oriented track here, but even it has a slippery and softer feel. Real nice. 

Maybe a bit late for the summer season which it undoubtedly suits best, but by expanding their sound naturally into this area you can see the Managers have given themselves a lot of wriggle room for the future. These deep bass tracks also suggest a dub version can't be too far off. 

I'm guessing though when they support the UK old-school punk band the Vibrators at the Kings Arms on June 10 they will revert to their harder kickin' ska style. 

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