Is That A Riot? is the Youngblood Brass Band’s first album without their former frontman Nat McIntosh. Ironically, it’s their best album album as well. On this album, structure replaces chaos, but the sound remains overwhelming. The New Orleans based Youngblood Brass Band stand for an extended percussion section combined with two trumpets, two trombones, two saxophones and revolutionary rhymes. The result is vigorous music like you have never heard before. The band calls its style brass-hop, riot jazz or drum corps punk. It’s up to you to decide what name fits best.
The album’s first track “March” is quite a dark track that seems to predict what is yet to come. After slowly building up, the song explodes in a climax with MC Henzie Skogen ordering the listener to march. The next track “Nuclear Summer” is the first single of the album. It already has a notorious reputation as a live track, and the studio version is certainly not inferior to the live version. In tracks like “Waiver” and “Jem”, the listener is gained some rest. The trumpets, trombones, and saxophones play harmonies that remind of early New Orleans jazz and blues. “Bone Refinery” and “Dead Man Stomping” are the most hiphop-like songs on the album. Henzie Skogen not only proves on tracks like these that he’s an outstanding MC, but also that his rhymes go far beyond the point where most MC’s get stuck. Skogen knows how to deliver a strong message, and he raps accordingly.
In contrast to the almost threatening darkness of the first track, the last track “Thanks” is a very cheerful and lively instrumental song that seems mostly influenced by ska. This invitation to move our feet and to thank us for listening adds a nice ending to a very diverse and pleasant album.
Imagine a group of talented young musicians that wants to exclaim its fears, angers, and ideologies by means of a combination of hiphop, jazz, blues, and ragga, because in the end, that’s what Is That A Riot? is all about.