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June 14, 2024

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Bang-Original Movie Soundtrack
Various Ska Artists (Moon Ska Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Moon Ska Records is making history by releasing the first US all-ska film soundtrack for the independent film "Bang." Such bands as Ocean 11, The Slackers, The Toasters, Let's Go Bowling, and Isaac Green & The Skalars contribute to this compilation.

Ocean 11 starts everything off with "Hong Kong Low Rider," a very repetitive ska-dub song. After the first thirty seconds, you've heard it all. The song lacks any spirit or originality. It's just flat out a boring track. Sure, they try to mix some extra stuff in later on in the track like a synthesizer and horns, but it's just a wasted attempt at making the song anything better than nothing. The Slackers' "Run Away," on the other hand, comes on with a traditional ska piece that also has some reggae feeling to it. The song is very relaxing, and the horns add some spirit to it. Although, at times high pitched vocals (that sound like a man doing a woman's voice) show up in the background, and take away from the song. But that isn't too often. Overall the song is done nicely, and has some heart to it. The Toasters "Brixton Beat" starts out with some drums you might hear at a military camp of some sort. The guitar slowly fades in, as do the vocals and soothing backing "ooh's." Then the words, "come on boys, lets do some 'Brixton Beat'," is shouted, and everything jumps into full swing. The song picks up, and starts you dancing. The backing vocals are nicely done, and add a light and calm touch to the song. The main vocals are clear and loud, while the guitar also is very dominant. Let's Go Bowling serves up a Latin-ska track complete with Spanish lyrics and all on "Cumbia Del Sol." You may not be able to understand what is being said, but you'll be able to dance and enjoy this track. Next up, the Toasters serve you one more track with "Toast on the Coast," an instrumental that sounds like it could come up during a part where a man and a woman are dancing romantically. As the band plays on stage, they grab each other and dance in a fancy restaurant. The mood is right, and everyone is happy and having the times of their life. If not that scenario, definitely a happy moment in the main characters life that he will want to remember for some time. Isaac Green and the Skalars bring you "Don't Count," the best track on this CD. The bass is catchy and drills it's way to your head, while the female vocals ring out words of wisdom. "Don't count on getting what you want/but appreciate it when it comes," rings through your mind. You know what they are talking about, and you also know they are very grateful for everything they have. "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want/that's what my mother told me/if that's true then I've had more experience than anyone should have," is another memorable line in the song. These are words of wisdom that should be remembered for eternity. Not only do they have powerful words that are true to life, but they also back it up with some great ska. But what's this? Isaac Green and the Skalars have another track on this CD under the "Bonus (ska-dub) Tracks?" The same power and emotion that the original has, with the same words of wisdom, but this time they splash in some dub. Not as good as the original, but still pretty terrific. The horns are still bright and powerful, and the music will still relax and calm your body. You can't go wrong with either track. Dr. Ring Ding & H.P. Setter close out the soundtrack with "Trombone Sound" in the "Bonus (ska-dub) tracks" category.

Eleven ska tunes from various artists, and six bonus dub re-makes of ska tracks? Can it be true. Yes, and you'll find it all on the Bang soundtrack. If your curious as to how some of your favorite ska tracks sound with dub added, or just want to own a piece of history then this is the CD for you. I'll give it a B-. The dub bonuses were nice, but they didn't even out the fact that as a whole the album sounded very average.

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