Sunday, October 29, 2017

Duff Review: The Bakesys "More Bakesys"

Do the Dog Music

(Review by Steve Shafer)

The battered emergency call box on this EP's cover (999 in the UK = 911 in the USA) and reference to The Specials' mournful, end-of-days, furious-at-Thatcher album in its title (and font) should quickly clue the more perceptive ska fan to what they're in for thematically with The Bakesys' More Bakesys--protest music for the age of austerity, Brexit, and Theresa May. And what fantastic music it is!

Drawing musical inspiration from the stripped-down, minor key, and keyboard-focused ska of The Specials' Ghost Town EP, as well as the output of The Specials' musical descendants The Dead 60s, The Bakesys' have created a powerful set of songs that provide sharp social commentary on life during economic wartime. "Anything and Everything," "If You Ain't Got It (You'll Never Get It)," and "No Time Counting Sheep" address communities being devastated through mass unemployment and government cutbacks to public services ("Nothing left standing in this forgotten town/The shops are closed/They've all gone away/Nothing to spend around here anyway"), extreme economic inequality ("The river's too deep/The mount is too high/The valley's too wide/So don't even try"--we're way past "Enjoy Yourself" these days), and the soul-crushing grind of what work there is to be had--that never lets you get ahead ("I get up before I go to sleep/Bills to pay and appointments to keep"). Other aspects of life aren't much better. The deceptively bright "Your 10FT Smile" is about lying lovers and politicians, while "When the Zombies Come" urges the listener to forego the pork rinds and get into shape so they'll be physically able to evade the undead hordes when they come (and slyly quotes The Toasters' "Run, Rudy, Run" in the chorus!). The British landscape may be grim at the moment, but the Bakesys' music never is.

More of this, please.

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For more on The Bakesys, see The Duff Guide to Ska review of their recent compilation, Studio Selections 1991-1995.

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