Mad Caddies - Punk Rocksteady

Mad Caddies has always been a personal favorite on so many levels for so many different reasons. Pretty much when I discovered them through their "Rock The Plank" album on tape in 2001, these fellas became some sort of soft spot for me. In my world, the album "Just One More" (2003) is a perfect 10 and it has helped me through some interesting times. Mad Caddies is not just a band that mixes ska, reggae, punk, Dixieland jazz, Latin pop, alternative and whatever other genres you can think of, they are a band that matters.

What also matters is that when I read the news about this project, I was stoked and at the same time not even remotely surprised because this was bound to happen. Mad Caddies covering some of the defining bands in punk history in a reggae manner is what one could expect and probably this should have happened a few years ago.

Aside all the horrible things Fat Mike (NOFX and owner of Fat Wreck Chords) said during a show in Las Vegas, the guy has the knack to make a big deal out of cover songs and albums. After the idea of "Punk Rocksteady" was on the table for a while, Mad Caddies teamed up with him as a producer to create your fucking summer soundtrack, so you'd better play it loud.

The cast of the new Netflix original show
"Waking the Fourth wave"
According to an interview with some members, covering certain bands could be really tricky because not all punk songs have just three or four chords (duh) so they won't sound really great in reggae versions. But Mad Caddies and Fat Mike made a great selection although I wasn't really familiar with a few originals like the Snuff track "Take Me Home (Piss Off)".

"Punk Rocksteady" starts with a beautiful and somber version of Bad Religion's classic "Sorrow" featuring some sexy Hammond organ and trumpet solos. When I listen to "She" (Green Day), "Alien8" (Lagwagon) and AM (Tony Sly) I can't help but think of the likes of Slightly Stoopid and in general the Sublime-ish atmosphere surrounds this whole record.

Chuck Robertson's voice has always been beyond perfect and this project proves why he is one of the best singers in the so-called punk scene. The other members don't disappoint either - the band executes every idea with refinement, warmth and professional musicianship - salty and sugary horn section, soaring guitar shuffles and pulsating bass lines and drumming. Let's take for example "Some Kinda Hate" by Misfits. It still has a brooding 80's vibe but redesigned through the prism of the ska legends The Specials.

There are a few guest vocalists in here. Aimee from The Interrupters adds a little hoarseness on the incredible cover of "She's Gone" (NOFX) and on the Operation Ivy song "Sleep Long", where also sings Joshua Waters Rudge from the British reggae/dub heroes The Skints. Fat Mike himself also makes a cameo at the end of the Propagandhi cover "...And We Thought The Nation-States Were A Bad Idea" where he pokes fun at another classic track by the Canadians' - "Ska Sucks". If you know the original's lyrics, you'll definitely know what I'm talking about. I'll give credit to Mad Caddies for being brave enough to pick such a complex guitar song with breakneck tempo and great political message and turn it into something so cheerful, fun and fresh.

This feels a lot like a fan made album and it serves its great purpose - being catchy, summery and nostalgic. The last Mad Caddies album with original music "Dirty Rice" was okay but it felt short being outstanding like all their earlier ones so in a way - this is a great comeback for these handsome Californians. For sure this could fire up the fuse in a year or two for new great original music.

Listen if you like:
Mad Caddies obviously
Punk and ska covers
All things ska and 90's punk revival 
And also if you're tired of morons telling you that EDM is the only genre that produces summer bangers

Recommendation rate:


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