By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Most of my ska is cut with punk. I seldom explore the genre in its purified form. Thus, I was excited to step out of my comfort zone when Umbrella Bed was described to me as “2-Tone ska”.

As it turns out, “2-Tone” is a tag ascribed to ska that stuck to the pop underbelly, avoiding the alternative influence of punk and grunge.

For Umbrella Bed, this means less safety pins and more brass.

They’re veterans on the Minnesota scene, with five albums and an ocean’s worth of shows to swim in. They came together in 1995 (when I was still developing motor skills!), and though cogs in the machine have changed (both in musical style and member line-up), the motor has remained resilient- and rearing to jump!

Refill is their latest- a five-track EP, hot n’ fresh for 2013. With echo and bounce, it lends a little splash of summer to my December chills. Fun-loving vocals are energized by trombone, French horn, trumpet and saxophone, a section in turn strengthened by the more traditional guitar, drums and bass.

I’d LOVE to see the whole band make a trampoline out of a stage. Their zest must be infectious! Even watching them in their music video makes me wanna leap.

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