East coast Reggae-rockers Ballyhoo! have been invading the radio waves of alternative stations all over the country, landing them gigs with some of the biggest names in alternative music scene today. With five albums under their belt, they’ve produced another rock-solid effort, Pineapple Grenade, on Right Coast Records, melding aspects of reggae riffs with a modern pop twist and opening up the doors to alternative and reggae rock to the average Top Hit radio listener.

Known to attend post-show gatherings and intermingling with the “normal folk,” the group has gained quite a following over the past fifteen or so years, and Ballyhoo! remains incredibly focused on their fans. As a reward for their ongoing support, Ballyhoo! takes their listeners on a wonky trip between love-laced ballads like “Lost at Sea”, strung high with deeply personal lyrics to driving feel-good jams, to tongue-in-cheek anthems like “She Wants to Destroy Me” and “Out of my Mind”. Throughout the lengthy album, old and new fans alike will be pleased by the expanse of their abilities, enjoying the newfound juxtaposition of this relaxed album.

Several tracks are highly reminiscent of mixtapes my older cousins, the mid-90’s alternative trendsetters they were, offered me when I was younger. Some of these tracks, like “Battle Cry,” make for a pleasantly nostalgic walk down memory lane, but there have been renovations, and for the better. Ballyhoo! puts an update on classic alternative hits, and will more than likely serve as a gateway drug to 90’s counterculture.

Howi Spanglers voice drips over the songs like vocal velvet, making for a unique experience in a reggae-rock/pop group, leaving a long-standing impression on me. Not only do they set Ballyhoo! apart groups who often fall short in the vocal department, they enhance the pop aspect of their music.

Utilizing the easy accessibility of the pop medium, paired with downright upbeat and exciting power behind their reggae-driven tunes, Ballyhoo! serves as the perfect remedy to those end-of-summer blues as autumn begins to descend upon us. Ballyhoo! is sure to entertain and delight, making for a memorable installment in today’s alternative music scene.

-Liz Russell