The surprisingly strong ska scene on Long Island has always been a bit of a head-scratcher.

But Nonstop to Cairo’s debut album “Dabble Heavy” (Nonstop to Cairo), set for release on Jan. 13, may explain it. In the midst of the biting January winds, the Baldwin-based band conjures up sunny good times with their intricate vocal and horn harmonies and island-tinged guitar riffs and occasional rhymes.

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“Chicken in My Oats” carries all the ska hallmarks well, calling to mind a mix between the well-crafted work of The Toasters and the more pop-oriented, crowd-pleasing 311, ending in a swirl of horns and guitar riffs.

But Nonstop to Cairo is looking to move the genre forward, as it does in the inspirational “Andrew’s Song.” “Read in between the lines,” raps August Harris, using the buoyant horns to make a more serious point. “Look, hasn’t it crossed your mind to rise up?”

The low-key “Get the Girl” may be Nonstop to Cairo’s best shot at landing mainstream rock success, with its irresistible chorus surrounded by a great horn arrangement and unexpected harmonies.

It’s that element of surprise that gives “Dabble Heavy” a sense of joy that is infectious.

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Contact The Long Island Sound at glenn.gamboa@newsday.com or follow @ndmusic on Twitter.