Ballyhoo! – Detonate Album Review – By Pat Douglas

Ladies and gentlemen…May I present to you the amazing, the mysterious and all powerful Ballyhoo! Yes, Howi and team are magicians and they’ve pulled another rabbit out of their hat with their upcoming release, Detonate. This album manages to be so many things at once. While distinctly Ballyhoo!, the album also manages to be something completely new and fresh. With the bounce of reggae, some punk, some surf rock and a bit of roots – and managing to even sneak in a little metal – the boys have brought forth an album fresh and new. And yes….that is a good thing – a VERY VERY good thing.

The album starts off with a bang in the form of the first single, “I Don’t Wanna Go”. This one is a rager and has been on my Spotify rotation since its release. Next up is “Maryland Summer” that has such a catchy hook – you’re destined to be singing along every time. I can’t wait to catch this one live next month here in Omaha. After that is the title track, “Detonate”. To me, this is the song I’ve always wanted to hear from Ballyhoo!. The inspiration in the lyrics and the power in the guitar riff made the hair on my arms stand up the first time I heard it. “You better live your life today, you might be gone tomorrow, don’t let it get away”. Just typing out those lyrics did it to me again.

The 3 tracks, “Bruce Wayne”, Gas Station Burrito” & “Selling Out” bounce through ska rhythms, rock power and punk sensibility and each blends into the other like unique snowflakes in a blizzard. I’m sure Howi put these 3 together for a reason. While each is vastly different in both tone & tempo, they blend so well as to almost be one song. “Selling Out” makes the perfect crescendo to this trio. This one also needs to be in their live set list as I can’t wait to hear the crowds yell…

“Getting Paid, Getting Laid, It’s Great to be ALIVE!”.

Next up is my favorite track of the album. “Stop Ruining My Life” is equal parts beautiful and powerful. This song could possibly contain the best lyrical work from Howi yet. I found myself putting this one on repeat several times over the last couple times and I see that becoming a pattern. “Can’t Hardly Wait” is a groovy bass laden song chronicling how tough it can be for our favorite bands to be away from their loved ones while giving us all a chance to experience their live shows. The drum work on this one is fantastic as well, with Donald showing his prowess behind the kit.

“Barnabas” brings in Ballyhoo’s strength – showcasing a little of everything we have all come to expect from the boys. This one has the perfect mix of everything Ballyhoo is. The timing on every note on this one is about as perfect as it can get. Following this one is, in my opinion, possible the biggest departure and giving us everything you wouldn’t have expected. “Riddled with Bullets” has possibly the funkiest bassline I’ve heard in a while. Nick knocked this one out of the park. The track moves along with a signature bounce and sway – than about halfway through, Howi hits you in the face with some metal that’d make the boys in Pantera proud – until the track bounces right back into the rip roaring melt your face speed of a fun punk track. “Save me from myself, I’ve been to hell and back”

Things close out with “Mind Over Matter”. The harmonies on this on are so spot on. I love how Howi and Scott bring it all together on this one. Not to mention the keyboards on this one too – there’s a groove that moves along through the back of this track that, even though it’s subtle, stands out and ties it all together.

Overall, this is a thoroughly impressive album. As you would expect, the production is top notch – with Howi dotting every i and crossing every t. You’re all going to love this one – so get your hands on it as soon as it comes out – better yet – go pre-order it to make sure.



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  1. Terrific review!

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