Monday, July 8, 2019

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Various Artists "The Shape of Ska Punk to Come"

(Review by Steve Shafer)

Various Artists The Shape of Ska Punk to Come (CD/digital, translucent red vinyl LP, Bad Time Records, 2019): Here's my upfront disclaimer: Generally, I'm not a big fan of ska punk (though a great song is a great song, no matter what the genre!), but I was intrigued by some of the acts on this comp and, since I'm a card carrying member, love the fact that all the profits for this release are being donated to the ACLU, which, as the liner notes point out, "works to defend everything from LGBTQ and immigrants' rights, to racial justice and criminal law reform." Most of the tracks on Shape are heavy on the punk and a bit light on the ska, but there are some terrific songs on here by some truly amazing bands. Highlights include J. Navarro and The Traitors' "No Control," which points out that politicians' grip on power is not as tight as they'd like us to believe and is ripe for wresting back ("It's an illusion that most cannot see through/Their political concept for people like me and you/It takes one action/It takes one moment/It takes one brick/It takes one slip..."); Catbite's "Amphetamine Delight," a wonderfully catchy jolt of ska, pop-punk, power-pop, and rockabilly about the joys of speed (and perhaps a piss-take of sort on "Afternoon Delight"?); Kill Lincoln's '80s hardcore-meets-3rd Wave ska work-out "Giving a Shit," ("We could break it down/If we all just give a shit!"); S.M.N's "Break Down," a fantastic, sing-along jumble of hard rock, modern ska, rap, and '60s AM pop; and Matamoska's "Ropa Sucia" (Spanish for dirty laundry), a nuclear blast of ska-core, as well as powerful plea for everyone to put aside their stereotypes/preconceived notions about others: "La discriminacion affecta toda la nacion/Obedecen las leves de la television (translation: "Discrimination affects all the nation/Obey the lights of the television") Wake up and learn to choose/Where to find the truth!" Highly recommended.

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