'Thirteen' is one of the most shamefully over looked albums of the past 10 years in a genre which adores bands like Smash Mouth, Rancid and [Spunge]. Imagine [Spunge] jamming with Bullyrag and Eddie Grant's backing band and you are almost on the right track. Their style of up-tempo Ska/Reggae/Rock was a welcome tonic to the beginning of the Nu-Metal bands coming out hand over fist in the mid 90's.
The opening track is definitely the strongest on the album. 'Shiver' is ska at it's finest. It is an up-tempo, finger clicking anthem for the Cali-ska crowd.... you can almost feel the rays on Venice Beach... this is a genuine feel good song about a holiday to the slopes that a ska Beach Boys would be proud of.
'Youth' is a mellow crowd swaying anthem that is about 'exactly what it says on the tin'. With lyrics like 'The Youth Of Today Have A Lot To Say, It's Our Life, It's Our Future' you can hear the point they are making.
Next track, 'Long Slow Death' goes into rock territory about drugs.. but whether it is a promotion or damnation is open to interpretation.... depends if you like 'Hippies' and 'Volkswagen Beetles' I guess.
Fragile Planet is pure reggae with a rock chorus and the additional touch of French lyrics is nice as well.
'You're like a fire that can not be extinguished, I know many A man that must have tried. So I sit by my window and I stare over yonder, and I wonder if you will ever be my girl'. I know what your thinking, with lyrics like that, must be ballad of some kind... oh no, not on this album. 'Fire In The Sky' is almost like Faith No More in the chorus and has a great last minute of a harmonica solo... hard rock-tastic, mate.
'Quicksand' carries on in the same vein with a rocking verse and chorus and the harmonica again at the fore before going all funky on your ass with a bass guitar and wah-wah pedal making their presence known.
'Vampire Ska' goes to the funky upbeat ska again, the thing the band are best at. Reminiscent of The Specials and early Madness.
Slap bass intro and porn-tastic riff of 'Eggfart' is pure brilliance... you can just hear it being the background of any 70's US action show like 'Starsky & Hutch' to 'Dukes Of Hazard.' Then we get to the chorus and you realise, this song should have been used in the soundtrack of the 'White Men Can't Jump.' film.
'Signify' is probably the weakest track on the album again in the rock mould but with no real edge to it... seems to be more of a filler then anything else.
When 'Ho' starts, you think to yourself 'This is 'Shiver' with different words isn't it?' Unfortunately, the answer is yes.. it is virtually identical but without the lyrics or upbeat tempo.
'Brick' is just pure funk-rock. no two ways about it. You can see those flares flashing in the disco. The organ in the background over the funky guitars just adds to that feeling.
Final track, 'Give To Me', is a complete departure of everything previous being a song that you KNOW could do well in the charts... and I know it sounds like something I have heard before, but I don't know what it is.
The hidden track is kinda pointless with a minute of 'GO HORNY' between the crowd and the band and you can't help but wonder why.
And then the party is over. You have skanked and foot-tapped and appreciated what the band have done and don't regret the purchase of the album... but will you listen to it on a regular basis? Maybe... I definitely think this is a 'In One Of Those Moods' albums, but when you ARE in the mood, there are few album better then this one.
Horny Toad are :-
Vocals & Harmonica - Cavia
Guitar - Moises Casillas
Bass - Luichi Mayorga Drums - Doug Sanborn/Jerry Angel/Ralph Herrera
Percussion - Mike Temple
Keyboards - Anthony Brewster
Tracklisting is :-
7Colin Weston's Score