The Mighty Mighty BossTones - While We're At It
While we're at it, the ska genre, let's talk about its third wave progenitors - The Mighty Mighty BossTones. For a brief period of time more than 20 years ago this band was the biggest in rock, literally. "The Impression That I Get" was a #1 hit on Modern Rock radio and "Let's Face It" sold a shitload of records - something, completely unthinkable about a ska band at the time. Sure, No Doubt and Sublime went way over the mainstream but the BossTones were the true leaders of the ska movement in the 90's and to most people, they remain the greatest band that rode the third wave.
Usually, here and there we read reviews about bands that "return to form". For The Mighty Mighty BossTones this album puts an end to a musical trilogy that was preceded by "Pin Points And Gin Joints" (2009) and "The Magic Of Youth" (2011) and "While We're At It" is the strongest of the three. You can always argue that the band has been consistent through the years but the previous two efforts sounded a bit uninspired and unfocused. So how do you make a "return to form" record when there's no spark?
Well, Trump's divided America and the politics, in general, make way to inspire and according to the frontman Dicky Barrett, this is how "While We're At It" found its way out of the studio. Mentioning the vocalist, it's hard to believe he's 54 and his voice sounds just like 20 years ago. I don't know if it's his magical Irish ancestry or the magical power of the Irish whiskey but he still got it.
There is a handful of signature BossTones songs and maybe, some surprises as well. "Wonderful Day For The Race" and "Here We Are" combine mid-tempo punk rock with fanfare horns and anthemic choruses while tracks like opener "Green Bay, Wisconsin" and the upbeat "Closer To Nowhere" would turn up a live crowd for an unhinged skanking. There are classic Jamaican rocksteady vibes ("Unified", "Absolutely Wrong"), Carribean coconut feels ("Walked Like A Ghost"), and even sophisticated swing jazz moods (the closer "After The Music Is Over"). Also, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones deliver a little epicness on "The Constant" when the joyful chorus collides with the brass section.
"While We're At It" surely has its flaws but they aren't something I would make a big deal of it. For the most part, this is a pretty compelling album whether you think that the BossTones are just old dudes who don't fit in today's music scene. After 35 years into their career, they sound honest and spontaneous which is far more important than relevant. Also, the record makes a perfect three-hit ska combo with the recent releases from the Mad Caddies and The Interrupters.
You don't like to knock on wood
You're already in a skanking mood from other recent ska albums