Today on Listen In we're rewinding to 2006 with Pepper's fourth record, No Shame, an album which found itself on constant rotation in my car.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Pepper, they are, in my opinion, one of the greatest underrated bands around today. Hailing from Hawaii, the islands influence, as well as Southern California's, can be heard distinctly in their music, which sways between Reggae, Punk, and Rock like the grass skirt of a hula girl.
With five albums, a live CD, and a compilation of outtakes and B-sides under their belt, Pepper has had time to find and hone their style, which at first was a little more erratic.
Their sound can best be likened to Sublime or 311, but it is definitely unique. Like I said above, the often switch between Reggae, Punk, and Rock often doing so within the same record, which sometimes works against them by disjointing the album. However, No Shame stays pretty much on track in one genre (albiet a genre compromised of a few mixed together). I consider it their best album to date.
Known for putting little role-playing skits into their albums, No Shame contains three, making the track count 18, while there are actually 15 songs. The skits are probably my biggest/only gripe with the album, they aren't particularly funny, and they don't do anything for the listener except make you reach for the "skip forward" button. While ripping the disc to my computer I made sure to leave them out.
Album art is also something Pepper is known for, but No Shame's cover is artistically tame compared to some of their others. There was a special edition of the album that came with a pair of ladies underwear similar to the one on the cover but with the No Shame + lipstick kiss logo.
While their other records had a few shining gems amongst a majority of "meh" songs, "No Shame" is solid throughout, and there isn't a song I don't like.
The lyrics are in typical Pepper style, ranging from fanciful and upbeat (even when about opposite situations) to downright juvenile at times. There are a few songs on the album that you definitely wouldn't want to play around children, unless you want them to pick up several slang terms for female body parts.
If you are new to Pepper, and would like to get into them, I would recommend, this album as well as Kona Town, as a good starting point. Head over to my personal blog to listen to "Crazy Love" which was the first song I ever heard by Pepper, and the one that piqued my interest.
© Jacob Martinez 2008 for LISTEN IN some rights reserved