It is not everyday that a band releases a concept album as their debut full length, but The Hempsteadys are anything but conventional. The 11-piece from New London, Connecticut melds the traditional sounds of late ‘60s Jamaica, Motown and early British punk with the modern soul of Daptone Records and reggae rhythms of contemporaries such as The Aggrolites and The Slackers.
El Amor De Los Muertos is a rock(steady) opera about forbidden love with classic movie monsters as the cast of characters. Think of The Specials’ “Ghost Town” with the subject being more literal-than-symbolic and the music having a similar sound. This album has been four years in the making, as hinted at in the title of the song “Teen Wolf 2012,” which was the first song written for it. In those four years, the band has honed its incredible live set around the northeast.
It is hard to capture the energy of The Hempsteadys’ acclaimed live show but El Amor De Los Muertos certainly comes close.