January 3, 2008

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Still keeping the party going
Reggae band Noddaclu releases new CD
By Alec O’Meara aomeara@hippopress.com

Local reggae party band Noddaclu is hoping its new CD, released on Christmas Eve, will help warm up the dead of winter with some hot beats and soulful melodies.

When the self-proclaimed “reggae island party band” titled its sophomore outing Long Time Now, they weren’t kidding. The band has been piecing together the record — its first since 1995 — since May of 2006.

“Part of the problem is that we play out so often we hardly have the time to do recordings,” said bassist Kevin Morris, an original member and the only artist to appear on both albums. Morris said that the extra time has allowed the band to record all 12 tracks at a high quality, something he feels sets the music apart from traditional reggae from the islands.

“Some of the stuff recorded in Jamaica today sounds a little bit like it was mixed on a laptop on a kitchen table somewhere, and that’s probably because it [was],” he said. “This hasn’t been, and I think it shows through the whole thing. We’re very proud of it. Not just the writing, but also the technology that went into it.”

Noddaclu plays the full range of reggae rhythms, going so far as to have roots reggae, straight dance hall and ska tracks on its new offering. Being able to deliver its own sound while remaining faithful to the genre’s history is part of what Noddaclu is all about, Morris explained. That, and good jerk chicken and rum punch (recipes for both are on the band’s Web site).

“We’re not pioneers in any way,” said Morris, who added that unlike “serious” reggae bands, Noddaclu is not above playing “Hot, Hot, Hot,” if the crowd is right and it sparks the party. “We play a lot of the classic reggae, but what we don’t do is just play the same rhythm over and over.”

The band’s current line-up includes the Peter Tosh-inspired vocals of DJ Tony Davies, guitarist and fellow original member Tommy “Tune” Guerrero, drummer Alan Waters and St. Vincent native Verden Matthias. Though the band is based in the Boston area, it makes regular trips into southern New Hampshire and is currently talking to several local clubs to push the new album. The band most recently appeared in Manchester at Penuche’s Bar and Grille. Historically, the band likes to go farther north in the winter time to play ski areas but is considering a more local schedule this season.

“We don’t really have the guys that jump around crazy anymore,” Morris said. “Don’t get me wrong. We still party, we just let the crowd do most of that now.”

The album is currently available on the band’s Web site, www.noddaclu.com. Morris said that Noddaclu was considering making the album available at other venues such as iTunes but had not yet done so.