It’s essentially common knowledge that ska is a fun genre. It’s upbeat, light-hearted, and you just can’t stand still when listening to it. You’re guaranteed a lively environment at any ska show and will probably walk out with some new friends as well, as the genre is known for unification and togetherness. I was incredibly excited to listen to this compilation, Ska-narchy Across the USA: East Coast Skanks. A three-part series from Allegedly Records and Ska Box, the selection aims to highlight ska bands across different regions. Both Allegedly Records and Ska Box have already put out some great compilations in the past, and they hit it out of the park once again with this one.
The compilation starts off with a huge bang from Amy Gabba and the Almost Famous. From her vocal range to her outpouring emotion, Toronto-based Gabba absolutely shines throughout the track, “Soulmates and Strangers.” The song throws out fun, upbeat instrumentals to compliment the otherwise somber lyrics, such as the heartfelt line, “The things that you used to love about me, now you love to hate.” You can’t help but empathize with the message, as it talks of going from loving someone to being incompatible. It’s a perfect breakup song, and a great introduction to this collection of songs.
A solid track comes from Idleminds, based out of Maryland. The four-piece draws inspiration from Pennywise for their song, “One Day Maybe,” as vocalist Chris Joyce could easily be a dead ringer for Jim Lindberg. Between its solid breakdown and steady tempo all around, this band will take you right back to the 90’s with their reminiscent skate punk sound.
There are some really strong women featured on the compilation, such as Washington, DC’s The Skluttz. Their song, “Superhero,” is another favorite of mine, as you’ll easily find yourself skanking to the track. It opens with the classic ska upstroke from guitarist, “Professor Sklutt,” aka Xavi, and goes right into the enthusiastic and joyous sound ska is known for. It’s such a great track from start to finish, and anyone who listens will automatically become a fan of this band.
The album comes to a close with The What Nows?! tune, “Heart to Heart.” It’s the perfect song to close out the anthology, as its slow ska tempo will remind you of Sublime’s earlier work. The band, from Reading, Pennsylvania, all stand out in their own right, as each instrument is highlighted throughout the number. You’ll enjoy this one all summer long, and a great way to complete the anthology.
It’s incredibly hard to pick standouts on this album, as each band radiates the ska punk spirit fans fall in love with. I can’t wait to dive into these bands further, and I’m sure anyone who listens to this will also. It’s a powerful start to this three part-series from Allegedly Records and Ska Box, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.