Easy*Life Ska Reviews


Tape - 1997 Self released
review by megan

Credit must be given to T Crookham & the Accidentals, if only for the intricate suburban legend they've built up around the band (see their website at http://www.earthlink.net/~tcrookham). However, having been pumped up to expect something sensational, or at the very least different, I was let down by their self-released 5-song tape, Rebel Music. It's generic ska music & that's about it. The musicianship is good, the tempo is a nice mid-range upbeat, the sound is slightly watered-down, and the singer has that annoying nasal, sing/speak voice that seems to be a requirement for half of all local ska bands. And while I greatly appreciated the fact that the band attempts social commentary in their songs (instead of singing about girls & being in a band), the songwriting itself was weak. The title "Fear of a Vegan Planet" promises dark satire & instead delivers a peppy chorus of "Eat some meat/We don't wanna/We don't wanna", and while "California Jezebel" isn't bad, the target of the poor little rich girl, a la Let's Go Bowling's "Daddy's Girl", is a much too easy one (and while we're on the subject, why aren't their any songs about obnoxious rich boys?). Out of the five songs, the best was the mostly instrumental "Rebellion Alter Ska". With nice horn solos & a great tempo, the song shows promise for the band & hope that the Accidentals can break out of the generic "ska band" mold.
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THUMPER - Songs From the Grave
CD - 1999 Jump Up! Records
review by visser

Songs From The Grave is a collection of Thumper's 1991 release Rabbit Wreaking Havoc, and their 1993 release Another Day, plus two live recordings made during 1996. If you're familiar with Thumper, you know that they have a unique combination of ska, punk and metal. But I found myself skipping though many of their songs. They seem to have a dark 2-tone sound sometimes, while on other songs they are ripping through heavy metal guitar rifts. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of their work, but I'm just not that big a fan of that kind of stuff. I do have to say though that if you're looking for something different, you definitely hit the jackpot.

A lot of the songs are just grunge/metal/hard rock with horns, and sometimes the horns tend to get a little repetitive and have sort of a weird disco feel. But, as I said before, I do find some of their stuff entertaining. I especially love their cover of Ozzy Osbourne's hit "Crazy Train". Plus, there is a hilarious documentation of an actual fire during one of the band's practices. By the end of the album, you'll be crapping your pants off! But, overall, unless you are a Thumper fan or looking for metal/ska (something different) , I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Boston's bastard children of ska, they put the ass in Massachusetts.

TWO THOUSAND FLUSHES - Please Flushes, Don't Hurt 'Em
CD - 1997 Jump Start Records
review by megan

I doesn't seem like "the Flushes" could hurt anyone, but it's a testament to their amateur style that their first CD would be titled something that silly. Please Flushes, Don't Hurt 'Em is the sort of thing that you listen to when you're first getting into ska & are attracted to the off-beat. Later, you learn there are quality bands out there, & this CD would eventually end up in the back of your collection, or, better yet, in the cut-out bin at some second-hand record store. 2000 Flushes is ostensibly ska-punk, which means they use horns like a ska band & repetitive chords like a punk band. After only 2 songs the CD was beginning to grate on my nerves, & the singer's voice didn't help any. At it's best 2000 Flushes is a generic ska band. At it's worst it's absolutely unlistenable. At any rate, it's not recommended.

CD - 1997 Moon Records
review by megan

For awhile I had lost faith. It seemed that every Toasters show I saw featured more and more slow reggae-style tunes & less and less of Buck singing. For someone who thinks Ska-boom! is the consummate Toasters album, this wasn't what I wanted to hear from America's premier ska band. But on their newest album, D.L.T.B.G.Y.D. the Toasters prove me (& a whole bunch of others) wrong.

Unlike many bands today, the Toasters have progressed musically over the years, veering from one ska sound to another but always doing it well. On D.L.T.B.G.Y.D. they present an album which encompasses nearly every ska style they've ever tried their hand at. That trad ska/reggae sound is still there in tunes like "Fire In My Soul" and "Woyay" but its accompanied by older-sounding Toaster tunes, like "Weekend in LA" & the poppier title track "Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down", & traditional instrumentals like the wonderful "Jackie Chan". It's this older Toasters style that I love & "I'm Running Right Through the World", with it's pop-hook chorus, & the heartbreaking "Daddy Cry" were a few of my favorites - I'd recommend the album on the strength of those two songs alone. But with 17 solid tracks & a great cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'" this is an album that can't miss. The Toasters exemplify 3rd wave, American ska, & while Ska-boom! is still my favorite Toasters album, D.L.T.B.G.Y.D. best exemplifies the complete Toasters sound.


CD - 1998 Moon Records/Stomp Records
review by visser

This is the Undercovers debut album fresh out of Canada. I had never heard of this popular Canadian band until I received this album. They have a unique blend of pop, ska, punk and new wave that caught my ears off guard. Although, I would have to say that Some People has more of a modern pop approach, it fits in well with a lot of catchy songs that are almost impossible to get out of your head. The whole album is like a huge roller coaster ride, from the album starting out with fresh organ driven ska and tight horns to ending in a smooth, subtle swing tune. If you're looking for the same old fast ska/punk type of music, this is probably not for you. This is more of a smooth, laid back album with some really good pop-punk songs with a new, fresh, good feel to it! If you're looking for a 2-tone sound with some punk and a modern edge, this is definitely for you! But, either way, I would check into these guys more.


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