Jump Up! Ska
A ska record, produced by punk rawk legend Steve Albini?!?! I was more than a little apprehensive. I expected a sloppy mess of overwrought guitars with precious little ska rhythm. What a pleasant surprise this record turned out to be! The Eclectics have chops, and showcase them well on Idle Worship. There’s nothing sloppy about this record, and while there are plenty of crunchy guitars and punky shout-along vocals, the whole record is amazingly clean and features some really strong horn work. The result is two great tastes that, for once, taste great together, as the Eclectics turn in one of the best ska-punk records since Operation Ivy and the early Bosstones records!
The key word here is fun, and lots of it! So few ska-punk records make me want to dance, but as soon as the horns kick in on the opening track, “Harry,” my feet start wanting to move. Nearly every track is so damn catchy and infectious that you can’t help but fall under the spell! Hell, they even make the Gorilla Biscuits’ “Things We Say” danceable! My favorite tune, though, is the swingy “We Can Make it Happen,” with some incredible trombone solos and raucous gang vocals. Elsewhere, “Siddhartha” chugs along like a bullet train, “Had Enough” has some great, pop-punky “whoa-ohs” and harmonies to spice it up, and “Laura” is the best song Less Than Jake never wrote, but rocks harder than they ever did.
Idle Worship is, without a doubt, the best ska-punk record I’ve heard this year. Whatever the Eclectics have, I hope it’s catching. If all ska-punk bands were this good, they’d take over the world! Besides, any band that thanks Wesley Willis in their liner notes can’t be all bad!
Jump Up! Ska Records, 4409 Greenview 2W, Chicago, IL 60640; http://www.mcs.com/~jumpup/WWW/homepage.html