When one thinks of new independent music coming from the Bay, the names E-40, The Pack Too $hort and Mistah F.A.B stand out, but that’s not all the ‘Yay’ has to offer.
That’s where Kapakahi comes in. Originating from San Francisco, this four-piece band is in love with island culture and it’s obvious in their debut album titled ‘Twisted, Bent and Confused.’ The title basically serves as an English translation of their band’s Hawaiian name.
Kapakahi’s music is a catchy mix of Latin, reggae, hip hop and pop all rolled into one eclectic musical style.
‘Twisted, Bent and Confused’ starts with a few excellent tracks that perfectly introduce the group to casual listeners.
The opening track ‘Body Glove’ is a catchy upbeat song that will have you humming the hook after the first two times you hear it.
‘She Could Be the One’ is the first track on the CD that shows the band’s different styles. The hip hop and jazz influences are apparent in this song and give it a soca (a blend of soul and calypso) feel. ‘My Bad’ is a great song for those late study nights when you need something to kill the silence.
Kapakahi’s saxophonist, Nick Rous, stands out on every song in which he’s featured. The sax, along with Enrique Padilla’s Latin influence, make the music that much more interesting and unique.
Unfortunately, ‘Twisted, Bent and Confused’ is front-loaded and once it hits track five the quality drops significantly.
That ill-fated track is ‘Nice and Slow,’ which is outshone by the two songs before it, ‘She Might Be the One’ and ‘My Bad.’ The most memorable part of the song is the occasional lyric that is meant to make listeners want to dance but somehow ends up sounding like something from Dashboard Confessional. Other than that, it’s a forgettable song like much of the rest of the album.
The rest of the album sounds like one continuous song. Neither ‘One Good Deed’ or ‘Huhu’ bring anything interesting to the table, but ‘Rush’ brings the nice Latin feel that a few of the early tracks had.
It’s unfortunate that ‘State of War’ seems tacked onto the end of the album. It’s one of the better tracks but doesn’t mesh with the other 12. It would’ve been nice to see a few more songs like ‘State of War’ mixed with the others.
Most of the album is dedicated to having a good time and trying to get girls. The fact that one song is called ‘Tipsy’ should say enough. The band demonstrates its ability to make musical and political statements, and it wouldn’t hurt if they had focused a bit more on them.
Overall, ‘Twisted, Bent and Confused’ is a promising debut album. Vocalist Mike Dayao is difficult to understand at times, but not to the extent of many other reggae artists. Reggae is an acquired taste, but if you want to ease into the genre, Kapakahi is definitely a friendly and poppy entrance.