Last Call (Moon Ska Records)
By: Alex Steininger
A nine-piece ska band from California, Skanic bridges the gap between 2-Tone music and the third wave, while also relying on traditional influences to keep them on the right path. Influenced by such bands as the Specials and the Untouchables, they also reach out of the ska genre to draw inspiration from, including early 90's modern rock bands like Nirvana.
It seems with almost any genre these days, bands are always covering songs that don't particularly sound in sync with their style, songs you'd never figure a band of this or that style to cover. Yet, in the ska genre it seems bands are always out to cover songs in the ska genre or genres closely related. You never see a band slip in a surprise, you can always sit back and go, "Yeah, I can here that influence in the band." But, finally, a ska band has come out and decided not to hide behind what they think their influences should be and jumped right out in the open to display their heritage of modern rock. Covering Nirvana's "Breed," they really surprised me with this number. I started to listen and was like, "Wow...that's a...NIRVANA song!?!?" For this alone, this band deserves a lot of credit. There version is no where near as good as Nirvana's, but just the fact that they weren't afraid to cover a 'grunge' band's song in this ska day and age is shock-value enough to hand out applause.
Much like that song, however, the rest of the album is pretty mediocre. It does slip in some very memorable moments, such as "Last Call," which is a very strong piece of art. The horns are tight, the song is very soothing, yet at the same time very catchy. You'll be bopping and singing along, and without even thinking about it, they get you singing within the first minute and a half. "Fine Mess" is also an album stand out. The chorus is about as addictive as they come. This song was ringing around in my head for weeks after listening to it. Mixing a little rock 'n' roll into their ska, this number really makes you move. Highly energetic and danceable, easily humable, and a nice mix of modern ska and Caribbean influences, this song alone makes a good name for this band.
This isn't a bad album, matter of fact it's pretty darn good. There are a few outstanding numbers ("Last Call" and "Fine Mess"), and the problem lies in that. The rest of the tracks just can't live up to your expectations of these two grand numbers. I enjoyed the album, and still do, I just wish more of the tracks had the same energy and liveliness of those two songs. I'll give this disc a B.