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The 4-Track Adventures

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Album Review

In the wake of the breakup of Canadian ska band King Apparatus, singer and guitarist Chris Murray hunkered down in his living room with a cruddy four-track cassette recorder and made one of the best ska albums of 1996, an extremely catchy and good-natured half-hour of snappy tunes and sonic sludge. It sounds as if he used plastic buckets for drums — and he plays some of the basslines on the low strings of an acoustic guitar — but to be fair, the sound isn't that much weirder than the one Lee "Scratch" Perry was creating at the height of the Black Ark period. And those songs! "Ex-Darling" is guaranteed to stick in your skull and drive you crazy for weeks; the rudeboy anthem "Sammy Come a Jail" is the most perfect imitation of late-'60s Jamaican ska ever made on the North American continent; "All-Nite Dinah" is a delicious, greasy, organ-based instrumental; and "Cooper Station Blues," which closes the album, recounts the difficulties Murray had convincing Moon label head Rob Hingley to release the album. Listeners will understand why this album was a hard sell, but they'll be glad that Hingley finally relented.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Best known as the vocalist and chief songwriter of the ska band King Apparatus, Chris Murray began his solo career in 1995 with the release of the LP The 4-Track Adventures of Venice Shoreline Chris through N.Y.C.-based Moon. A series of appearances on compilation records also followed in the years to come. 4-Trackaganza! was issued in early 2001 on Asian...
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The 4-Track Adventures, Chris Murray
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