Artist: Blackball  
Label: Metro One Records  

    So I said Hey Man 
    Look at these new shoes 
    I got the seventies on my radio 
    I got a gold and pink impala 
    That's jacked up in the back 
    If we don't hurry we'll be late for the show
These lyrics from "Hey Man," the seventh tune on this second album by Blackball, describes the bouyant mood of this record pretty well. It's that feeling of driving to a show while gettin' down with a little seventies-type groove on the radio.  On the other hand, Blackball is also as "today" as the popular alternative radio favorite 311, one of the bands Blackball sounds a lot like, especially when rocking and singing harmonies. 
Chris Scott from Precious Death is the leader and main song writer here. Lorenzo, Rocco, and Tom round out the other three corners of this talented band, with loads of help from Farewell To Juliet's own Jeff Elbel on guitars.  This is not metal music, however. The band has effectively mixed jazz riffs into their funky alternative and only occasionally break into some metal moments. The style may still be evolving. Besides that, the only other small complaint I may have is that Scott's vocals are a little weak in a few places (strong through most of the record, though). 
The album is produced and recorded by the great Gene Eugene of Adam Again, who also plays keyboards here, and his funky fingerprints are all over the place.  On the second tune of the disc, "All God's Children," Blackball takes from Southern rock and church music to come up with a horn-infested, dance-in-the-aisles groove, with a fast-trilling trumpet break in the middle.  The next tune, "Just Don't Know," also uses great horn moments (by Mike Maffey) to keep the listener moving to a rap-core headbanger.  Then a real funky Sly Stone influence comes on strong underneath another headbanger called "Funk For Breakfast." 
The record is called Hope, and that seems to be the theme running through many of the songs. The lyrics deal with relationships and disappointments but point to the hope that Christ gives us, which can sustain us today and carry us to a better place tomorrow, as these from Gospel music rocker, "Everybody Wants To Get Over It": 
    I'm going away 
    I'm finding a place where the sun shines 
    Just ask me I'll say  
    I said I'm going away  
    I'm going away  
    I'm leaving the past where it should be  
    No matter what they say  
    One day I'm going away
This hard rockin', funky record has some very cool moments on it, with a few weak spots.  Overall I like it quite a bit.-----Tony LaFianza