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May 17, 2024

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Girls Go Ska...
GIRLS GO SKA (Simmerdown Productions)

By: Alex Steininger

The worlds first (and finest) all female ska compilation is upon us. Straight from Portland, Oregon's own Simmerdown Productions, twenty-two up-and-coming bands are represented. From traditional ska to third wave moves, you'll find it all here.

Heavily influenced by traditional bands, Metro Stylee's "Destroy" is a third-wave jolt that will surly find you on the dance floor with a bad case of dance fever. Very catchy, you will also find yourself attempting to sing along with the song. The vocals are powerful and impact the music heavily. The horns jump around in the background, keeping everything full of energy, while the drums keep your feet tapping with their swift beats. Franceska's "Wasted on You" combines traditional ska with R&B roots. Some of the most powerful and beautiful female vocals I have ever heard front the band. The soft keyboards in the background are soothing, while the horns remind you of all the beautiful times in your life, as they gently breeze through the song. The drums softly keep the beat in the background, except for a few parts when they kick up the pace a bit. Powerful and elegant, the song is very emotional. Well written, it will bring up emotions of love and happiness within you. The Solicitors speed things up a bit with "Don't Step On My Fingers". The horns are bright bursts of energy, while the guitar is fast enough to get you skanking at a moderate speed. The vocals are strong at times going from independent thoughts to angst fairly easy. But the thing that bothers me about this song is when the chorus hits, a guys voice mixes with the female vocals causing the whole song to lose everything. It sounds horrible, and heavily takes away from the song. Low Pressure's "Nowhere" is a beautiful composition. It starts off soft, but soon picks up speed. Adding a slight punk touch courtesy of the hard hitting drums, the chorus whips you up into a frenzy. The verses are moderate-fast tempo, giving you the perfect opportunity to kick up your feet and burn a hole in the dance floor. Isaac Green & The Skalars combine well crafted lyrics, with great ska melodies. The bass intro at the beginning carries throughout, adding a lot of depth to the music. The drums are soft, and keep the beat mellow. The vocals are powerful and carry out the words with passion and experience. "Don't count on getting what you want/but appreciate it when it comes," slowly drips from the speakers, as the words of wisdom climb into your ears and rattle around your head. The guitar is nice enough to relax too, and upbeat enough to get you skanking all through the song. The horns add emphasize to the song when the vocals aren't ringing out the words of life, as well as adding flavor whenever they are present. S.M.A.'s "Big Guy" seems to be the result of inexperience and roughness. The horns are powerful, drawing your attention whenever they are present, but the vocals and the music seem to ride in separate directions at times. A little time and more experience should shape this band into something great. The now-defunct Mealticket get you, and keep you, dancing from beginning to end. The female vocals are very strong, able to handle almost any situation. The music is very upbeat and catchy, as you find yourself singing along during the chorus. The horns scream through the music, while the guitar keeps a slightly distorted upbeat present. During the chorus it jumps to some pop-punk riffs to throw something new at you, and keep you on guard. Highball Holiday, who recently released their debut CD on Moon Ska's "Ska Satellite" Record label, closes out the CD with "Why?" Upbeat third wave ska with a bit of a 70's disco feel to it gets you dancing, ending the CD with a decent song.

If you've ever doubted female fronted bands, your crazy. This CD showcases some of the hottest female fronted bands in the world, and it more than proves everything they are capable of. What's more, this compilation focuses on bands that have a full time female lead singer, not a band that called a female into the studio to do vocals on one track (like some other so called female ska comps out there.) Don't pass up your chance to hear some of the hottest rising ska bands in the world, get this CD! You can either e-mail Simmerdown Productions through the e-mail link provided at top, or you can write to them at: Simmerdown Productions/P.O. Box 344/Portland, Oregon 97207-0344/USA. I'll give this album a B+.

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