As much as it was never a hugely popular genre, ska has brought with it some lasting bands. There’s the ever young (they wish) and ever brash Reel Big Fish to the local Australian ska talent of Area7. There is one ska group, however, that were commercially popular due to one infamous song that is still piggybacking the airwaves today. That song was The Impression That I Get. That band was the one and only The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Since that single released, they were steadily writing new tracks and released a final album, ‘The Magic of Youth’, before entering a short writing hiatus that ended just now, seven years later, with an absolute treat: a brand new album from the group dubbed ‘While We’re At It’. This will make sense to many Mighty Mighty Bosstones fans as the group has been activelyperforming every year since 2008, and therefore another album was expected and anticipated. The only question is, is Ska still alive and kicking? This album gives that answer a definitive yes.
From Green Bay, Wisconsin through to After The Music Is Over, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones give us that old school ska sound that makes fans happy and gives everyone something to groove to. Even after having all that time off in between albums, its evident to see that the group has not lost their touch especially with this year marking their 35th year as a band. Vocalist Dicky Barret‘s are as great and memorable as they have ever been, if not more so. Of course, though, Barret’s vocals just wouldn’t sound right is we didn’t have guitarist Lawrence Katz b, bassist Joe Gittleman and drummer Joe Sirois supporting him along with the ska-essential ensemble of Tim Burton and Leon Silva on saxophone and Chris Rhodes playing the trombone. It’s every bit the classic sound we all came to love.
There is a controversial track, Divide, that may do exactly as the title suggests when it comes to fans’ opinions on the politically fuelled lyrical content. While Ska can be considered more of a party and dance genre over anything else, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have been known to challenge this preconception multiple times in the past and undisputably continue to do so. It’s understandable to see where they come from with it and undoubtedly commendable how a commercially labeled “lighthearted” genre can potentially be confronted, and with this track, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones do exactly that. Divide follows up with a quick, exciting Closer To Nowhere that allows for a different but equally enjoyable shift of mood, and successfully continues to put a spring in anyone’s step.
As much as ska is still alive and kicking, this album definitely shows that its becoming more of a relic. The genre that could be represented by the grandparent at a nursing home that rarely has anyone visit, if at all, anymore. While it shows it’s age and never changing formula, it can also demonstrate that sticking to some of the conventions of a genre is exactly what may be keeping The Mighty Mighty Bosstones from fading out into the background. Without even knowing who it is, as soon as the album starts playing you’ll know its The Mighty Mighty Bosstones just by the fact they sound no different. It is important to note that is an amazing album but it’s not revolutionary. Nonetheless, that does not measure the outpouring success of a band who is still impressively going at it even after multiple decades in the scene.
PURCHASE YOUR COPY OF ‘WHILE WE’RE AT IT’ HERE!