Having seen this New Paltz blue beat band open for a latter-day version of the mighty Skatalites, this reviewer can personally testify to the Big Takeover's ability to create a dancehall inferno with its high-octane take on reggae, ska, and rocksteady. It's a pleasure to report their new long-player does not disappoint. In a perfect world, this seamless blend of pop and Jamaican rhythms of various vintage would rule the airwaves and algorithms. This is ebullient, hip-shaking fare to perfectly soundtrack any outdoor summer night.
The Big Takeover came on the scene in 2008 with a lineup that featured commanding, Jamaican-born front woman Nee Nee Rushie and flame-throwing blues guitarist Johnny Klenck. With Klenck having since departed to pursue a more hard-blues direction in Tennessee, The Big Takeover has gone into a straightforward pop reggae sound that could very well bring the band broader success. The horn section of Andrew Vogt (trombone) and Chas Montrose (saxophone) is propulsive; the current string section, José López (guitar) and Rob Kissner (bass), gives "off-beat riddim" and counterpunch; the buoyant timekeeping by Hector Becerra (drums) anchors whatever reggae style the band is working in a given song. The dominant aspect is Rushie's superconfident, soulful vocals. The singer has full command of her instrument and is particularly potent on "Down with the Ship" and the smoldering skanker "No Way." The band will play at the Falcon in Marlboro on July 12. Bigtakeoverband.com.