Chewbaska – The Shape of Ska to Come
More Ska Punk? Why yes, yes indeedy. Well, almost yes at any rate given that today’s offering actually leans more to the side of the Ska than the Punk which is unsurprisingly no disappointment to me at least. Hailing, like Guarapita, from France, Chewbaska offer up an EP of what is basically old fashioned Second Wave Ska. Think Madness with a nostalgic dash of The Skatalites and you’re more or less there and that’s a mix which in these Ska deprived days is no bad thing.
So, nothing wrong with what they’re aiming for then, but how about the execution? Well it’s fairly good, it bubbles along quite nicely for the most part and even deviates from the routine at points to throw in a dash of Funkiness which fits well. The only problem I can bring up with it is that the production is almost too tight and clean, leaving a version of Ska which feels a little too sterilised, missing a bit of the chaos which their inspirations had in abundance and which makes Ska the music that it is. I can’t be too hard on that aspect of things though because this EP is more or less a homage to what’s gone before and it’s a good homage at that but it can’t really be expected to inject the same fire into the music as those who originated it. Plus I suspect that when/if this stuff is played live it proves itself far better than it might manage to do here.
Vocally it’s a ramshackle mix, different languages appearing on different tracks, which is nice but offers no real lyrical depth, I suppose that shouldn’t be a shock to me given that Ska has long been treated like Pop when it comes to lyrics, a hook and a beat coming in at an easy first.
So, it’s good ol’ fashioned Ska with that vital spark lacking, or to put it another way, I’m sitting here listening and nodding along peacefully but I’ve yet to leap out of my chair and skank my way around the room whilst pretending to play a trumpet. But hey, I long ago gave up expecting perfection from my modern Ska given how marginalised the genre’s been in my neck of the woods, if not in France (apparently) and this is as good an attempt as I’ve heard of late to keep the style alive.
Until the big Ska Revival then this’ll do just fine.
Final Rating: 76%
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