You have not heard the Bandits of the Acoustic revolution. This is for two reasons:
  1. They are not very big; a search on AMG only points to The Bandits, a band that last released an album in 1964.
  2. Their music, as cliched as it might be to say this, is really something new.
BOTAR (as they are known to their friends) is the new side project of one Thomas Kalnoky. A certain segment of the noderbase will immediately perk up at that name - he is the ex-lead singer of the seminal Jersey third-wave ska band, Catch 22. Kalnoky has assembled a "collective" of musicians to form a fully acoustic ska band.

Guitar, drums, bass, horns, string section. On their first (and at the time of this writing, only) EP, A Call To Arms BOTAR create music reminiscent of Catch 22, with Kalnoky's trademark flair and drama, but there is something unmistakably different and unique about it. I don't think anyone would argue against the proposition that the current Third-wave ska scene isn't exactly thriving. This, however, is something that you have not heard before - even people who would shy away from ska as a genre, fearing it too stupid or unsophisticated, associating it too closely with cousin punk, might want to check this out.

The new textures and tone brought to the music by the string section, not to mention the unplugged nature of the rest of the instruments, as well as Kalnoky's matured writing and the virtuosity of the musicians - who come from various and sundry musical backgrounds and thus contribute their own flavors - he has assembled.

Whether BOTAR is an intriguing musical one-off or indeed the Vanguard Party of a musical revolution remains to be seen.

Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution

A Call To Arms, the first EP of BOTAR is, of all the ska cds I've heard recently (I'm fairly new to ska, so my opinion means relatively nothing, but all the same) is arguably the best. I've been a fan of Catch 22 since I first heard them, I like Planet Smashers, Reel Big Fish, hell, most anything I've gotten my hands on I've enjoyed thoroughly. However, since a friend gave me a copy of A Call To Arms, I'm addicted to BOTAR, and needless to say, I'm praying for the release of an LP. Their sound is something completely new to my green ska ears, and despite that, or perhaps because of that, I find their small EP more enjoyable to listen to than any Catch 22, RBF, Planet Smashers, or Mighty Mighty Bosstones full length LP.

From what I hear, Thomas Kalnoky (lead vocals) seems to have a full plate at the moment, but who knows what the future may bring. Hopefully he'll have enough spare time to put out another cd with BOTAR. So, let us hope they decide to grace us with a full cd of kick-ass, acoustic, punk/ska tracks in the near future.

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