The Beatdown The Beatdown

The recording sessions for Montreal's the Beatdown ― a band that emerged out of the One Night Band ― must have went something like this: record backing tracks, add vocals, apply meat grinder. Alex Giguère's vocal chords likely resemble shredded cheese, but his gutsy vocals add plenty of character to the otherwise stripped down, punk-y reggae. The Beatdown have a simple, somewhat repetitive formula: don't mess up a good song with overplaying. "It's Alright," "Hooligans," "Get Ready" and "Beatdown" find one righteous skinhead reggae groove and stick with it. Delroy Wilson cover "Justice" joins "Tell Me Why" and "Number" in their tributes to ska-era dance crashers. "Let Me Take You Out" is the oddball here. Dub-y, introspective and expansive, it makes for a nice mid-disc excursion. And the strangely named "One Night" (a nod to former bandmates, perhaps?) ups the ante with a sweeping, grandiose introduction that settles into a steady, rocking, vinyl-y ska tune held together by a saucy harmonica. There's not enough harmonica in reggae, I always say. (Stomp)