Peeping Toms Peeping Toms

Singing with faux-American/Jamaican accents and playing with Jamaican soul, you'd never know the Peeping Toms were from Madrid, although fans of European ska may recognise the vocal style and guitar licks of ex-Malarians Rubén Lopez and Jaime Girgado. Ska-lars will also recognise that they take their name from the super-infectious Toots & The Maytels track "Peeping Tom." Not only is that a sign of excellent taste, it is also one hell of an intimidating legacy. Do they live up to it? Listen suckah, the pipes don't exist that could compare to soul titan Toots Hibbert, so let's not even fool ourselves. And while the lads from the Peeping Toms may not have the vocal soul of their old-school heroes, they've got the harmonies. As with many contemporary "ska" acts, the Peeping Toms toss many Jamaican styles in their musical salad, mixing and melding ska, rock steady and early reggae with flashes of dub. They even throw in boogaloo ("Jamaiquino Boogaloo") and ska-sanova ("Girl From Ipanema"), but always with a healthy doss of jazz inflections. And with the exception of an awkward organ solo in "Girl From Ipanema," the Peeping Toms comfortably show off their chops. With a line-up of just six young Spaniards, there were obviously some overdubs laid down to fill out the songs, but who's complaining when the melodies are great, the playing tight and the arrangements clever. (Grover)