After a lot of teasing and much anticipation, Jared Andrews, Lynn Nicholson and Jon Swain, a.k.a. Elephants in Mud, have finally hit the studio and given their fans what they’ve been waiting a long time for. The release of their first full-length CD, How the Hell Are You?, is finally on store shelves. These guys were founded eight years ago, so it’s been a long but worthwhile wait.

EiM are from Indiana, but it took a move all the way across the United States, to San Diego, California, to actually get the band founded way back in 2003. The CD was recorded and mixed in Fort Wayne by TJ Walstrom and Mike Hart at Megastation Studios, and they did a bang-up job. The sound is very unique, and that’s been a rare quality in and around Fort Dub for a long time.

How the Hell Are You? is a collection of 10 original tracks, each one as good as the one preceding it. With the CD’s soulful grooves and phat bass lines, EiM’s sound is very reminiscent of Sublime and Long Beach Dub Allstars with a touch of Jimmy’s Chicken Shack has and there for a touch of borderline aggressive spice. How the Hell Are You? combines soul, funk, rap, ska, hip-hop and rock, and the combination just works really well for these guys. For a three-piece band, the sound is phat and powerful. The talent level and musicianship all around is extremely high. One of my favorite tracks on the CD is “Sufferer’s Delight,” mainly because the second half of the tune showcases the band’s instrumental prowess.

The vocal content and feel has a killer flow and groove to it as well. The hooks are catchy but by no means generic, and the lyrics feature lines like this, one of my favorites, from “Hakeem Olajuwaon”: “Pass me the mic / then pass me the ball. / Like Hakeem Olajuwon / I will rise above them all.”

All in all, How the Hell Are You? is a really strong creation, and Elephants in Mud represent something that’s been lacking in the world that we know here in the Fort. How the Hell Are You? dares to be different. It’s goes against the normal, everyday, dry and lackluster sound that tends to consume our little big city.

If you’re a fan of music, do yourself a favor and get your hands on this one.