By Mr Shiraz
What I know about ska could probably be written on the back of a stamp. In fact it would be a waste of space to write it on the back of a stamp, because other than The Specials (how obvious was it that I was going to mention them, eh?) and a few more up-to-date American bands who do that ska-punk thing I have to admit it isn't something I've ever spent any time listening to.
So it gets even more confusing when I look at the Mr Shiraz website for inspiration. All I find are comments about the band being "Skankadelic All-Stars"; the seven-piece's self-description says it all, but does not make it any clearer for me. Elsewhere I find the phrase "ska-punk-metal-funksters" so I decide that I'll go with that and call it a day.
Onto their CD, my favourite tracks are at positions two and four on the CD, "Panty Sniffer" and "Running Around" respectively. The reason being is that these tracks are more like a mental (I've seen the live show) punk-ska ensemble - than the more mainstream ska that is evident in the other two tracks. How I can talk about 'mainstream ska' I don't know; it just rolled off my tongue. I think you know what I mean.
The closest my CD collection gets to my "best moments of Mr Shiraz" is a mix of Rancid with NOFX; and of course an addition of their ska influences. Post four and a half minutes of opening track "Lecture Theatre" also keeps me entertained as Mr Shiraz decide to go all metal on me. Nice ending.
The remainder of the CD sees me tapping my feet; it's well written, sounds ok, is very energetic and is delivered in the same competent manner as their live set - it's just "not my thing".
I must admit though, that whilst I'd never normally listen to this at home, I'm beginning to think that maybe I should.