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June 25, 2024

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Skankin' In the Pit
7 American ska-punk bands/7 Japanese ska-punk bands (Hopeless Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Not only is ska-punk gaining popularity in America, it is also gaining popularity in Japan. And what better way to bring Japanese ska-punk to the American public than through a compilation? And throw in some great American ska-punk and you have Hopeless Records' fourteen track compilation called "Skankin' In the Pit."

The CD starts off with a tremendous bang! Mustard Plug contributes "The Beer Song." A brilliant ska-punk track. The "ohh's" add a great touch to it. From great skankin' beats to tough and rugged punk this song will get you "Skankin' In the Pit." Assorted Jellybeans add to the flavor with "Wiggerside." A nice, fast paced punk-ska song that will give you more pit action than dance floor action. Slapstick's "The Park" is my favorite American contribution on the album. It starts off with a punk with horns beat. Very melodic and nice! Then it changes tempo, but still keeps everything on the punk side. Definitely a track that will have you in the pit. Falling Sickness comes in with "Sleep it off." A terrific blend of punk and ska. Very strong punk vocals, and most of the beat is very fast, energetic ska. You can make up your mind on this one if you want to skank or mosh. The Bruce Lee Band (now the B-Lee Band) brings "Song #3." Don't pop the ears, you might miss the song. Nail Ramp is the first Japanese band on the compilation at track eight. Their song "A Pizza Already," is brilliant! Great ska guitar that will get you dancing, and during the chorus they pick it up and thrust some good punk rock at you. This is probably my favorite Japanese band on the compilation. Young Punch's "Strange Energy" is some good straight forward ska-punk, but it's very hard to understand (since it is in Japanese.) But language is no barrier here! Music is a language everyone speaks. Potshot and "Handle" throws a handful of juicy, danceable melodies. They also have a great bass player. Fruity contributes "Cinderella Boy." It starts out punk, and then goes into some very good ska-punk. The fast vocals combine with the band to create a rough sound that you can still dance to. Duck Missile knows about "Friendship." And the "Friendship" just might be punk and ska. They work the two together quite well. From there soft side, to their hard, fast, punk side both show on this song. Scafull King come in with "You and I, Walk and Smile." And boy do they ever. They provide a bright horn section with mostly a punk background. And the final track is provided via Sprocket Wheel, and they contribute "Peace of Bread." Probably the only song on the album I don't like. The vocals are mumbled. Other than that a great album!

This compilation brings Japan's ska-punk to you for your listening enjoyment! Not only can Japan play ska and punk, they can play it quite well! Throw in some American ska-punk and you have a great album worthy of announcement. Although it only has fourteen songs and is a little over thirty minutes (too short for a compilation) you should still indulge in the overseas ska-punk market. I give this CD an A-. Go pick up a copy right now!

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