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VARIOUS ARTISTS – ‘Skunx! When Ska and Punk Collide Vol. 1’ Review

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Skunx! When Ska and Punk Collide Vol. 1

skunxVicious Mistress Records, a small DIY punk label from CT, USA have released a fifteen-track compilation featuring, as the album suggests, some punk/ska bands and it’s well worth a listen.

First up are Escape from the Zoo with Killacopter a tuneful and melodic punk/ska crossover with a unique sound that I think includes a ukulele (maybe a banjo?) and it’s a bloody good opener as the band experiment with a number of approaches, speeds and sounds.

Three Infidels contribute Grandpa with a hardcore opening that all of a sudden switches to the ska approach and then a punk rock infused chorus. The entire album is a melting pot of punk, reggae, ska and hardcore and it’s all on display on this song. There are 15 tracks/bands on display on a very good album and, the excellently named, 4 Aspirin Morning offer up a ska classic with fun lyrics with YSHBA with the brass section supplementing the verses and full on punk rock choruses – had me smiling throughout.

Abject’s No Way Out with a nod to Serious Drinking in terms of the approach until they go full on Gallows for the chorus and boy, it’s a powerful and angry song! The Hempsteadys bring on the ganja vibe with Charles Mutha Fuckin Big Blunt Broson where their reggae effort is Clash like and that’s a compliment!! It adds more variety to the album and that’s a good thing.

The next track is Suicide Seeds by Cap A Capo brings yet more variety with a gypsy punk style introduction and Offspring style fast paced punk rock guitar all underpinned with a ska foundation – it’s a very strong song indeed. Chilled Monkey Brains supply the song Snake and, by now, it is clear that Vicious Mistress Records have discovered some exciting new bands as this track is more hardcore and in your face punk rock.

Passing the half-way mark we are introduced to Bitch ‘N’ Dudes with their ska-to-hardcore-to-ska My Choice, My Habit. In keeping with a slew of excellent band names, Atterkop are next with Every Boy, Every Girl that is more in the vein of post-punk hardcore with a math-punk leaning and, angry as all hell vocals before launching into a ska0infused intersection.  Dead City Riot lay down some heavy bass and East Bay Ray style guitar on the excellent Steps We Take and successfully blend ska/reggae/punk into a mash-up that totally works as they rail against the system.

The Hub City Stompers sound just like their name on Suffer The Children with a Doc Martens skinhead stomp before The Hermits of Surbubia lay down one minute and eleven seconds of fast paced and banjo infused ska (or is it punk?) with an element of fun.

Loneliness by the Dead Rejects is a Rancid inspired track with throaty vocals providing a unique sound and the blending of the reggae beat verses is interspersed with heavy guitar backed choruses. The 14th track is delivered by No Person with The Cleavers Go Cutthroat and it’s a clean blend of ska verse and punk chorus as exhibited by many bands on this compilation. The Stupid Stupid Henchman close out with Keep Breathing a short track that neatly seals the album displaying the collision of ska and punk aptly described in the albums title.

The compilation achieves its goal of introducing a number of bands connected by their ska/punk styles and all with a unique take on the ‘genre.’

The album is available here:-
https://viciousmistressrecords.bandcamp.com/album/skunx-when-ska-and-punk-collide-vol-1

 

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