Ska Core The Devil And More EP
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Ska-Core, The Devil And More
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The first track ,"Someday I Suppose," shows the band transition from their earlier work into the era that produced the album Lets Face It and its lack luster follow ups. This one appears also on the album Don't Know How to Party. Its a straight forward track and is pretty solid. Don't get any ideas of what the next 3 songs are like from this song though, because the boys are about to visit a whole other place once we get to track 2.
The first cover is a rendition of Minor Threat's song "Think Again," and the band does a good job putting their own twist on the song while keeping true to the original. Lights Out is a little harder to rate as a cover as its the most obscure out of the four covers. For some reason it feels more like a regular Bosstone's song to me. I've yet to hear the original version as performed by Lights Out, but it should be noted that it is the strongest of the four covers, and appears on the Bosstone's live album as the closing song of the '97 Hometown Throwdown. The cover of "Police Beat" by Boston's legendary S.S.Decontrol is sadly the weakest track on the whole album. I think its probably the most down tempo song that the Bosstones ever released. It also has almost no mark of the bosstone's take on the song, sounding more like what an SSD tribute band would put out. It is interesting to note that Bosstone's vocalist Dickey Barret's first band Impact Unit used to open for SSD in the 80's.
The band breaks from the hardcore sound to deliver a ska tune from the Wailers' early days at Studio 1. I have to say I think Dickey improvised a lot of the lyrics, as they don't quite match up with the original, but this does give some originality to the tune. I personally prefer this version of the song over any other I have heard, as ska covers of older ska songs are often pretty bland.
The last song it that live medley. It contains what is the 3rd renaming of the Bosstone's anthem "Drunks and Children," this time named Drugs and Kittens, and continues into another early fan favorite "I'll Drink to That." This is, by far, the gem on this EP, capturing the sound the band is known for, and giving a tiny slice of what one their legendary live shows were like. There is a hidden track of "Howwhywuz, Howwhyam" at the end of the 11 minutes or so of silence recorded at the same show as the other two.
I generally do not recommend EP's as a starting point or introduction to a band's catalogue, but this EP is affordable and give a listener a full taste of the Bosstones' sound and give insight to the band's roots in Hardcore as well as traditional Ska of the 1960's. This is probably one of the best crossover releases I've ever come across as well. At the price you can get this CD for, you might as well take a chance on it, even if it doesn't seem to be your cup of tea.
Simmer Down, a cover of a Bob Marley tune, is more relaxed as its title implies. It's a nice change of pace for the usually very-intense Bosstones.
The last two songs, Drugs and Kittens and I'll Drink to That, were recorded live at a concert in Boston, on December 2, 1992. It has some banter with the crowd at the beginning and end, and if you wait a long time (almost 25 minutes) after it ends, a hidden track will start playing. The hidden track is a moderately-paced song about getting older - I see why it's bonus, since it doesn't really fit in with the other songs on this EP.
Overall, a great little EP - don't pay too much for it, and you will definitely not be disappointed.
PS. "Drugs and Kittens" is another version of "Drunks and Children"
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