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Songs in the key of ska

Holophonics put upbeat spin on favorite tunes

Before the Holophonics hit the road for a tour, the Denton five-piece has a date tonight at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.

With the bustle of Denton’s indie-folk scene and the hustle of the local hip-hop scene, you might forget that the city has produced its share of ska bands.

The Holophonics specialize in powerfully poppy ska tunes. Racing punk melodies are hurtled along by a bright brass section.

The Holophonics dropped a competent cover album in March, a tribute to Saves the Day titled MaSKArades Vol 5: Stay What You Are, part of their series of tributes to their favorite artists.

Frontman Eric Daino pitches the vocals confidently in a nasally tenor, playing organ and chipping in on guitar and bass here in there. Brian Handeland plays saxophones, and Shane Reider makes his final appearance with the band on trombone before moving to California and leaving Willie Basler as the lone bone man. Harrell Petersen sings and plays trumpet. Will Huebner plays drums.

The band names Jersey rockers Saves the Day as one of its all-time favorite bands. The covers bear the Holophonics’ incurably playful stamp: Even when singing about sad things, the Holophonics make it a good time. And any naysayers would be hard pressed to deny the band’s ska cred, because the quintet turns south in its cover of “Freakish,” making it a shoulder-bouncing reggae number. All it lacks is a bottomless tumbler of rum and Coke.

The ’Phonics are a mature band. Even the backup vocals are pitch-perfect (especially the grunge-metal screams repeating the chorus on “As Your Ghost Takes Flight”).

The Holophonics share the bill tonight with Monkeysphere, the Wife and Kids and Droidekka.

Rubber Gloves is located at 411 E. Sycamore St. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $5 for ages 21 and older, $7 for those younger than 21.

— Lucinda Breeding