Bim Skala Bim
The One That Got Away
Bim Skala Bim were among the first of the so-called “third wave” of ska bands, credited with taking up the baton the 2 Tone-era bands dropped and bringing the ska sound to a whole new generation. Their new record, The One That Got Away, goes a long way toward showing why they are so important to American ska. It features unreleased tracks, B-sides, and remixes from the last decade of the band’s career, and serves as a good introduction to the band.
The usual problem with collections of this nature is that they usually come across as very disjointed. Luckily, that’s not the case here. If I hadn’t read the liner notes, I’d have simply thought this was all new Bim material. Nothing sounds like it’s a throwaway or reject, it’s all fresh and vibrant. The tracks I’ve been enjoying most are the slower, more rocksteady and reggae-influenced tracks, like the beautiful, soulful “Line to You,” “Rain & Pour,” and “Edge of a Knife,” which puts me in the mind of the Police’s “Walking on the Moon.” Also demanding my interest were harmony-laden covers of the Beatles’ “Rain” (here sounding a bit reminiscent of Bob Marley’s “Lonesome Track”) and X’s “In This House.” There’s a lot of variety here, though. From the rave-up party-time rock-ska of “Murky Water,” to the poppy “Set Me Up,” there’s something here for everyone.
Listening to The One That Got Away, it’s not hard to understand why Bim Skala Bim have been such a fixture for so long. This record is full of great music from a band that has a distinct style all its own. Don’t let this One get away! Beatville Records LLC, P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015; http://www.bimska.com