March 8, 1999

'Supertones' latest release a solid blend of Christian ska

by Josh Renaud
staff assistant

"Chase the Sun"
The Orange County Supertones
BEC Recordings

Suntan lotion at the beginning of March? Yep, you're gonna need it, because The Orange County Supertones' latest disc is a scorcher.

"Chase the Sun" is the third album this Christian ska band has produced, and it is arguably their best. The Supertones have been known for their surf-influenced variety of ska, with big, bold guitar hooks and booming horns. But on this album, they have consciously made an effort to grow in new directions.

The songs on "Chase the Sun" are a great blend of rock and ska. What makes them different are the pinches of reggae, rap, hip-hop, and pop that the Supertones have used to add flavor to the mix.

The title track is probably the biggest surprise on the album, because it is essentially just a rap song with a chorus and some horns thrown in at the end. Matt Morginsky, the lead singer, has always been heavily influenced by rap and hip-hop, and his skill shines through on "Chase the Sun." His vocals have improved, and on this album he really sings from the gut.

Morginsky's lyrics are definitely worth the price of admission. The band makes no bones about being Christian, and their songs reflect that. Morginsky has penned introspective songs examining life and the choices we make, as well as songs that are meant to send a message to the audience. In the song "Health and Wealth," he compares American and Chinese Christians, the former living in the lap of luxury while barely lifting a hand to help the rest of the world, while the latter are impoverished and persecuted, but sincere in their faith.

Ska music naturally makes you want to sing and dance, so this album also has its share of fun and shout-out-loud praise songs. One such song you might recognize is "Away From You" which the Supertones played during the Papal Youth Rally in January. KMOV-TV televised much of the Supertones' performance live, including that song.

The powerful message in these songs is hard to miss because they are pounded home with some awesome drum and guitar work. The Supertones depend less on their brass section for this album than they have in the past, but the horns are great where they are played.

All in all, "Chase the Sun" is a lot of fun to listen to. Even if you aren't a huge ska fan, this album is for you. The massive influence of rock, rap, hip-hop, and reggae will heat up the speakers and make you want to get up and groove.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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