Diversity could be Yes Sir Boss’ watchword. Ska, soul, funk, rock and pop are just a selection of the genres which are not only tackled on Desperation State, they are fully explored and conquered.
Signed to Joss Stone’s label, Stone’d Records, and featuring Miss Stone herself singing on the soul/pop “Mrs #1”, YSB have been going from strength to strength; touring the UK and Europe relentlessly to packed out houses.
Desperation State opens with the fantastic title track, a belter from start to finish. This Gypsy-Ska is the perfect number to open the album with, showing off a little of almost everything that the band draws from. Tight horn riffs weave between the vocal lines in a snakelike fashion as the dynamic of the track moves from an a capella intro to a massive Anthemic finish. This is followed by the Mariachi-styled trumpet instrumental “The Situation.” And here comes my biggest criticism, at a mere 43 seconds, “The Situation” is really just an intro to the next track, without being a real piece in its own right.
While some of the tracks feature fairly complicated horn riffs, it would be a bonus to be able to hear the players really let rip and show what they can do in longer solo sections or instrumental tracks. Merging seamlessly from the atmospheric mariachi style of “The Situation” comes “Not Guilty.” This Ska-Punk rocker goes to show how heavy the band can play, whilst still retaining the bounce and groove that makes a Yes Sir Boss gig one that’s impossible to remain still during. The two-tone influence is evident from the start of not guilty, as the song builds and builds to a heavier, rocky climax.
The other real stand out track on Desperation State is the more soulful number “Mrs #1”, which opens with an upbeat acoustic intro, before introducing a groovy backbeat that blends with the guest vocals of Joss Stone. The track mixes her more soulful style with the rough and ready attitude of YSB. The track allows for the horns to show a different side, playing a mixture of Soul grooves and stabs rather than the more riff-based ideas of the rest of the tracks on the album written just for the band.
As a whole, the entire album is solid, keeping the groove of the band going for all of the 11 tracks. Without a single bad track on the entire disc, it’s hard to pick out any favourites. Although “Desperation State”, “Not Guilty” and “Mrs #1” being the ones that give the best idea of the vast range of styles that the band play.