The reviews agree...Kobo Town's Jumbie in the Jukebox is one of the best albums of the year. In the few short weeks since the album has been released Kobo Town has been compared to The Specials, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Harry Belafonte, The Mighty Sparrow, the Rebirth Brass Band and more.
The band is about to embark on their summer tour in Europe and North America, bringing their infectious live show to stages from Paris to Philadelphia.
Today, National Public Radio's All Things Considered reviews the album raving,
"The music of the Toronto band can drift between classic Caribbean pop styles and even verge on hip-hop, but the singer's perspective remains sharply focused, wry and witty. Jumbie in the Jukebox
is a seductive invitation to musical time travel — and one that's hard to resist." Listen Here
But don't take our word for it: Read what the critics have to say below, buy the album
, see the amazing live show (tour dates below) and let us and your friends know what you think.
“Kobo Town’s nu-Calypso bounces and bites, mocking everything from Fox News to misery tourism. The mix is disorienting, the vocals scratchy as a distant 78, while horns and soukous guitars nestle in the inner ear. “Tick Tock Goes The Clock” is a tour-de-force of apocalyptic dread, in the vein of “Ghost Town” or “Madam Medusa”, snatches of Hopkins...Desolation Row” amid swooping trombone.” – Financial Times (5 out of 5)
"An intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass, inventively sculpted by producer Ivan Duran. An early album of the year." – The Observer/The Guardian
"He's a powerful singer and an impressive multi-instrumentalist, playing guitars, bass and percussion, and he's helped by producer Ivan Duran, best known for his work with Garifuna singer Andy Palacio
. There are echoes of soca, dancehall, ska and reggae here, along with sturdy brass work, and the lyrics are suitably intriguing. He praises calypso as a news medium, covers topics ranging from the death penalty to tourists who take photos of Caribbean poverty, and ends with an apocalyptic calypso with echoes of TS Eliot. Impressively original."
– The Guardian (4 out of 5)
“The result of the collaboration between Kobo Town and producer Ivan Duran is a striking recording that reflects their mutual commitment to revive the folkloric music of the West Indies by taking it in new creative directions.”
– World Music Network
"Jumbie in the Jukebox
’s tales of love, Trinidadian history and folklore, all performed with a style that evokes the ebullience of the Rebirth Brass Band and the funky quirkiness of Tom Waits’ Swordfish Trombones
, poises Kobo Town to emerge as one of the powerful voices in modern calypso." – Examiner
"A cross cultural amalgam of lush danceability and pop-flourescent perfection." – Performer Magazine
“In the true calypso tradition, Gonsalves is a writer first and foremost, penning erudite rhymes that comment on news, the economic order and the human condition. He and his band, who have been together since 2004, start with a classic calypso sound and add elements of reggae, dancehall and rock to it. This is what a meeting of Mighty Sparrow and Andy Palacio would sound like. These guys are really onto something." – Global A Go-Go
"The record is packed with songs that are optimistic, energetic and upbeat while maintaining a level of intelligence about them. Kobo Town is rooted in activism and politics but cover it all with sunshine and love. Jumble In The Jukebox is the melding of island influences and modern musical techniques that sound authentic despite being uniquely Canadian. If anything, Jumble In The Jukebox illustrates the influence and prevalence of island music in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this record; it's lighthearted feel and intelligence made it an absolute joy to jump in line with." – PopStereoReviews
"Ça peut paraître drôlement cliché de dire d’un disque qu’il est l’album idéal pour l’été qui s’en vient. N’empêche qu’il est difficile de ne pas taper du pied, de ne pas penser fun, danse, coolitude et sangria lorsqu’on écoute cette musique-là. Mélange inégal, mais assumé de calypso, roots, de dub et de reggae, ce disque qui résonne de critique sociale comme un reportage dans le tiers-monde est l’œuvre de Drew Gonsalves, un Torontois né à Port-of-Spain. Mais il doit la moitié de son groove à un réalisateur du Bélize, le sorcier blanc Ivan Duran." – Voir Montreal
"It is refreshing to have a group like Kobo Town emerge with such a vintage, yet relevant sound. Gonsalves has created a world void of pretense and packed with the most primal emotion; heart. Through the reality of Jumbie In The Jukebox, as any good music should, you can close your eyes and be transported to another time and place and sincerely feel the message. The trip taken with Kobo Town is very much worth your time and the journey is unforgettable." – Nanobot Rock Reviews