Horn sections, especially in the late 90’s resurgence of ska, seemed to be a dime a dozen and a convenient add on to cash in on a musical trend. While many of the bands who boasted brass have since disbanded or abandoned the horns altogether, Catch 22 shows that the horn section is still an integral part of their music, and its members wield more power then you might think.
Jersey-based Catch 22 emerged and was signed to Victory Records in the height of third wave ska. Seven years later, the band still remains true to their ensemble roots. Their third album Dinosaur Sounds was released by Victory on Nov. 4. The title of the album may seem a bit of an enigma, and trumpet player/vocalist Kevin Gunther appears to want to keep it that way. “It’s a little unofficially tongue and cheek, but it’s easy to figure out if you know our background,” Gunther cryptically explains.
Catch 22 has been through some hard times since the release of their second album, Alone in a Crowd. Their singer unexpectedly left the band in the middle of their tour promoting the album. While the band did audition to fill the void, the process was trying on the remaining members. “We found a lot of people with good hearts, good kids, who would probably put their heart into it,” Gunther recalls, “but they just didn’t have what we thought it would take to do it.”
Eventually, the vocal responsibilities fell on to the shoulders of two existing members, saxophone player Ryan Eldred, and Gunther. The band attributes the significant period of time between the release of Alone in a Crowd, and Dinosaur Sounds, to this realignment of responsibility. “It took us about half a year to figure out that Ryan and I were going to take over the lead vocals,” Gunter explains “After that half a year, we didn’t really feel comfortable going right into the studio and recording, so we played a couple shows to test it out. Finally, we were like, ‘Okay it’s been two and a half years, we should probably go record a new record!'”
With the saxophone and trumpet players now pulling double duty, it is clear that the brass component is an inseparable element of Catch 22. But, the involvement of the horn section does not stop there. Relative newcomer to the band, and ex-trombone player of Edna’s Goldfish, Ian McKenzie, was a strong force behind the band’s new jazz influenced, more mature sound. “He has a natural ability to understand music,” says Gunther. “It’s kind of cool that it comes from a trombone player, because in some bands the trombone player just stands on stage and plays trombone. In this band, the trombone player helps write songs and has a pretty strong influence on what the songs sound like.”
With the hard times behind them, and a new album under their belt, Catch 22 is ready to turn on the rock at Club Soda on Nov. 24. Gunther urges everyone, even those who might not be familiar with the band, to come out and see the live show because “everyone sings and dances, it is crazy energy 100 per cent of the time!”
Catch 22 will be appearing at Club Soda on November 24 with Slick Shoes, Boys Night Out and Worthless United.