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The best kept secret in music



First, let me say that this band reeks of greatness. It's known that I am not a huge ska fan and I sure as hell don't speak Spanish. Nonetheless, Firme rocks. This band of young adults blends the best of ska, big band, hard-core, and punk, thus creating a sound that is different and unique.

The CD begins with the fast-paced, somewhat distorted “El Feo.” The next track - “El Sol” - has classic ska written all over it. The song is funky in its Latin groove. The guitar work is superb and the vocals (sung in Spanish) are full of passion. The horn section is flawless. “Heina” starts out like an old-school punk song, then jumps right into a ska groove. The song is also sung in both English and Spanish and features a sing-along chorus. The horns help move the vocals along, making the song all the more hooky.

“Flowing” has one of the best horn melodies I've heard in quite some time. The way the song starts out - a dripping horn solo followed by the rest of the brass - makes the song the best track on the CD. “Green Herb” features awesome guitar work, reminiscent of Sublime with hints of Otmon Leiber. Plus, the green herb is the best herb.

“Hijo de Lechero” is hard hitting ska at its finest. When I listen to this track with my eyes closed, I can picture a young punk driving a milk truck like a maniac. Spanish speaking or not, if you like good music, Firme will not disappoint. - Zero Magazine

"Firme 8 out of 10"

From the photos on the cover, Firme maintains the appearance of your typical ska band. There's horns, there's beanies being worn, there's the pseudo tough guy look. Then the CD starts and it is immediately evident that Firme is not your typical ska band. They are fiercer, more imaginative and bring a little something unexpected to the table.

Firme's self-titled album opens with a bang. The song “El Feo” contains a brass section smoldering through most of the song until it drops into full-on thrash-out. Though the horns do play ska standards - punching riffs in and out with the rhythm - it is Firme's combination of ska-meets-Latin jazz that is a pure delight for the senses. For audiences with mainstream tastes, imagine Tito Puente orchestrating Reel Big Fish. The sax solos wrap around the first half of the song, bringing Firme's Latin influences to the forefront. By the time the opening song transitions into thundering punk rock, you can almost hear the band members saying, “Hello, we can swing, we can be smooth but we can also kick your fucking ass.”

The album ventures toward traditional-sounding ska for some tracks (Heina, The Way it Used to Be, Ocho Pelitos), but the Latin sound never leaves. For Flowing, the band experiments with delay and reverb on the drum tracks in a way that pushes the sound to a further envelope. With all of its influences evident, Firme does not appear to be afraid to mix genres or try new sound. Nor are they afraid to write an entire song about a certain substance that the band appears to enjoy in a recreational fashion (Green Herb). “Smokin' and Chokin' and Tokin'” is apparently a favorite passtime of the band.

Firme blend their influences into a fresh and unique sound. Local bands often have production quality issues; hence, why they are a local band and not international megastars. While this may affect some of the vocal quality or recording levels, Firme appear at the top of their game. They are as likely to play with the Jazz solo in a song as to thrash with pure punk rock/ska fury. Variety, imagination and style are things that can't be replicated and Firme appears to have a firm (no pun intended) grasp on all of those.

Bottom Line: ska meets Latin jazz meets kicking ass. Check it out and get your groove on.

Rated: 8 out of 10

Frank Lee Shankly
Deep Tapioca - Deep Tapioca

"East Side Story"

16-legged groove machine.

Full Article Here:

- James Espinoza - San Jose Metro Weekly


1999 Eponymous release: Firme
2004 Single: It's Not Too Late
2006 release: Dolores


Feeling a bit camera shy


Latin Ska-Punk band grows up. Plays reggae-influenced rock with the occasional salsa-cumbia breakdown. Raised in a tough eastside San Jose neighborhood, Firme proudly maintains a hard edge that shines through in infectious high-energy live shows.