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Album Review

An association between an independent record label based in Hawaii and a band based in Maryland might at first seem unlikely, but Law Records' pact with Ballyhoo!, which here leads to the quartet's fourth album, Daydreams, makes sense in that the group is a party band with an island feel, the sort of act that must spend its time playing in shore clubs along the Eastern Seaboard, but that probably would fit in easily at similar venues in tourist-friendly Hawaii. The music can lean toward hard rock, with Howi Spangler coming up with thick slabs of noisy guitar riffs over the tight rhythm section consisting of his brother, Donald Spangler, on drums and J.R. Gregory on bass, while keyboardist Scott Vandrey brings a melodic middle, filling in the sound. But the rhythms, which vary from speedy punk to ska and reggae, bring out the danceable nature of the music. Spangler sings over it all in a smooth, low tenor, earnestly musing about the ups and downs of love. In "Say I'm Wrong," he's mourning the breakup of a particularly appealing relationship, but by the time of "Walk Away," things have gotten downright dangerous, as the combatants are fitted out with brass knuckles and a machete. At the end, Spangler waxes philosophical on "Ricochet," thoughtfully noting that "It could be worse/You could be headed down the road in a hearse." But though the vocals are high in the mix and Spangler sings clearly, his words aren't really what's important in the music of Ballyhoo! Rather, it's the insistent beat and all those charging guitars, which should make the band a party favorite in any seaside watering hole.


Formed: 1995 in Aberdeen, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Mixing pop, reggae, rock, ska, and even a little punk, Ballyhoo! are a band out of Aberdeen, Maryland whose music can be found on both Jimmy Buffett's Radio Margaritaville and underground skateboarding videos. Formed in 1995, the band released their debut album, 365-Day Weekend, in 2000 with The Green EP following in 2004. Both were released on the Hooligan Records label, as was 2006's Do It for the Money, an album produced by 311 collaborator Scott Ralston. Their 2009 effort Cheers found them on...
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Daydreams, Ballyhoo!
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