Fourth From the Last (Sarabellum Records)
The W's

By Robert Gruber

With their catchy advance single "The Devil Is Bad," the W's tore up the CCM charts this past summer, and anticipation ran high for their debut album. Well, it's here, but it doesn't quite live up to the promise of the single. Considered a "swing band" by some, the W's are actually more of a "swing-influenced" ska band not necessarily a bad thing, but I was really hoping for something jazzier more along the lines of a Royal Crown Revue or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Lyrically, they seem to target themselves toward the Slurpee-slurping skateboarders than the zoot-suit hepcat daddy-Os.

Still, this is an entertaining record, especially on cuts like "Open-Minded" and "King of Polyester." They have a great horn section with good arrangements, and incorporating elements of disco, punk and pure pop rounds out their sound pretty good. Lead singer Andrew Schar is endearing, but limited, and after a few songs his voice begins to wear, which makes me think that E.P.s are sometimes better than full-length albums.