O'Phil - "Live"
Not Bad Records


Let's see... yes, yes I am. O'Phil's live disc, although not without the flaws inherent to a live recording (having to mix on the fly and whatnot), still rocks like a mofo. This is as close as you can possibly get to an O'Phil live show without having Alex wagging his tongue in your face.

This disc is a nice change from most live albums. Rather than simply being a greatest hit collection, this is more of a way for O'Phil to release a disc of new material without having to throw down cash for studio time.

And, yes, the new stuff is worth buying. This is the next logical step up from Freako Suavé... still the ska rhythms and whatnot, but with a much more "rock" feel to all of it. There is one song on Live from Freako Suavé, "Damn Smooth," but it's the oddball, as the rest are all new tunes or cover songs.

This CD has all the little bits of stage chatter that makes a live CD a live CD – audience hooting, talking about stuff that really ought to be seen rather than heard being talked about, telling the audience to give themselves a hand, etc – clichéd stuff, but still fun nonetheless.

The only real problem with this disc is the sound quality. The horns are drowned out frequently by the guitars, the guitars by the drums, and the drums overpower even the vocals. It sucks, but the disc is still strong enough overall to get past it.

On a related note – to get the best feel out of this CD, listen to it on a variety of soundsystems. I listened to it on a DiscMan, stereo, over the radio, and in my truck, and I heard something different every time. It makes for a more interesting feel, to be sure.

If you can't wait for another studio release, or just   want your own copies of O'Phil doing their crowd-pleasing renditions of "Down Under" by Men At Work or "Paradise City" by G'n'R, then by all means, buy this disc.

Then again, no matter what your reason, this one is such a fun listen, go buy it anyway.

Nick Spacek can be reached