I should have guessed when the first track on “Always Never The Same”, “Tree of Night” started up, that this band had been around for a few years as it contained some of the most solid instrumentation that I’ve ever heard from a ska band. Every part of this eight-piece is given equal time on this disc, and one can hear drums ,brass, bass, and guitars all kicking in behind the very Flight 180-like vocals of Jen Cavazos. There is no time on “Always Never The Same” where the bands needs to stop and get their breath; tracks like “Days of the Week” show the incredible talent of DJ Aleman’s bass, sputtering and fighting through the track with all the talent of a Matt Freeman. If that was not enough, tracks like “Going 2 A Show” even notches that general sound up further, with the brass lines going into overdrive in what could only be a nod to pits the world over.
While the tracks on “Always Never The Same” have the same general sound threaded throughout, there are some distinctly different influences fueling Kevin Goes 2 College. The harder Bad Religion/Welt-influenced guitars of “Guilty Pleasure” keep the disc fresh even as some of the other elements (horn and vocals come to mind) stay relatively the same . The only thing that could be construed as weak on this EP is the final track, “Reflections” – a slower-tempo track that really does not contribute to the continually-innovative style of music that had marked the previous six cuts on this EP. Clocking in well under twenty-minutes, a full-length CD is essential to sate my desire to hear more music from these individuals.
Kevin Goes 2 College seems to be well on their way to breaking into the enervated ska scene, which experienced a mass exodus after the popularity of bands like Reel Big Fish and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones began to wane in the late nineties. There is nothing to say against the possibility that Kevin Goes 2 College could be the purveyor of a new resurgence of ska, much like the shocking ascension of pop-punk after Sum 41 was able to infuse metal with a rapidly-aging, Blink-ravaged style of punk. Look for the band to break into the national consciousness in the next year or two, undoubtedly helped by that litany of bands they’ve opened for since their inception, bands like The Toasters and MU330.
Top Track: Guilty Pleasure
Kevin Goes 2 College – Always Never The Same / 2004 Skarnival/ 7 Tracks / http://www.kevingoes2college.com / http://www.skarnival.com / Reviewed 02 May 2005