In Rotation: On Your Marx - Shock Up the System

Phil Collins - March 16, 2015

Shock Up the System

Chicago's On Your Marx release their second full-length album of ska/reggae jams this week. Shock Up the System embraces the reggae side of the genre, veering closer to first wave ska than third. The band's lineup features a full horn section (two saxophones, trombone and trumpet) and keyboard - a setup poised for the old school sunny island vibe.

Opening track "Snapshot," "Bus Stop Bandits" and "Know Better" stand out as prime examples of the band's tight grasp on smooth reggae. There are plenty of chances for upbeat skanking as well, especially on "Lightning" and the mostly instrumental "Stop That Wookie." Vocals from lead singer Lailah Reich and Kathleen Irion shine through on "Voila" and the aforementioned "Bus Stop Bandits," which may be my favorite track on the album.

This is the first release from On Your Marx in nearly five years - their debut album Resound came out in late 2010. My first exposure to this band came when someone gave me a hand-spraypainted demo after a show, which must have been longer than five years ago now. I still think they have one of the best band names out there. Stream Shock Up the System below, or pick up a copy at their record release show with The Slackers and LVDP Soundsytem at Reggies Rock Club this Saturday.