16 August 2013

Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Let's Face It

This is my entry for our One Hit Wonders project.

The rules:
Band/Artist has one UK Top 40 Single only.
The single has an accompanying album.
Collaborations / Charity one offs don't count.

Look! It's the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.  They 're from Austin, Massachusetts.  Boston.  That's what I said.
Anyway, they were formed in 1983, so have been around for ages.  They were heavily influenced by British 2-Tone but part of the early 80's Hardcore scene (cheers Wikipedia).

Now, forgive me for being both a ska noob, and a hardcore noob, but it's all I've heard of the Bosstones.  Tell a lie, I own the single, so whatever B-Sides it has I've heard too.  That said, I've taken to this blog light-heartedly, but also curiously.  Basically, I'm way more familiar with Less Than Jake, NOFX, Reel Big Fish.  It could be argued that the Bosstones played a large part in

Right, let's get down to business.  Now the one-hit-wonder here, in case you didn't know, is "The Impression That I Get".  It reached number 12 in the UK singles chart in 1997.  I bought it, loved it, bounced around to it in my illegal clubbing days, the lot.  Our mate (local legend Woody) got punched silly when this song came on ("Knock on Wood", geddit?).

BUT... Are there any hidden gems on 'Let's Face It'.  Has the UK treated the Bosstones unfairly?  Should they have been massive here? Let's do this!

So 'Let's Face It' (the album) got to #40 in the album chart too, based on that single.  Not bad, but in this reviewer's opinion, not good enough.  There was a second single, 'The Rascal King', which should have done better than #67.  It's similarly loud, catchy and bouncy.

I was honestly looking forward to listening to this album, but I've been left a little disappointed.  The band very cleverly fuse together elements of ska, punk and even metal riffs.  I think I might have a problem with lead singer Dicky Barrett's voice.  I can't explain it.  I don't have that problem with "The Impression That I Get", as it's shouty.  I've read elsewhere during my research that on earlier Bosstones records, Barrett's voice is even more raspy and gritty.  Musically, and it seems, lyrically, this album has been deliberately made to be more radio friendly.  And it worked, just not in this country.

Maybe I don't like Ska-Core at all, and only like the popular, watered down, pop punk ska peddled by the likes of Reel Big Fish.  Maybe I'm approaching this album in the wrong mental state.  It's good to just sit and listen to in the garden.  But I want to bounce around and go mental.  'Let's Face It' sounds over preachy to me, without actually packing any punch.

I have noted that the 'punch' I needed comes on the second half of the album, and I will say that the album is played exceptionally well.  The brass is awesome, and I love the guitar riffs on 'The Bug That Bit Me' and 'Numbered Days'.  I'm picking 'Desensetized' as my next-best song on the album.  It's a short, sharp, bouncy blast with equally awesome guitars brass, and punk spirit.

I think I've cracked it: I like the rock/punk side to this band, rather than the slower ska moments ('Royal Oil', 'Another Drinking Song').  Like I said, this band were/are huge Stateside, so it could be that the UK feels like I do.  A little bit 'Meh'.

Have a different opinion?  I'd love to hear it.  Meanwhile, check out this.  Go find Woody, and knock on him.  He loves it.

6/10: Now I see where you were going, but not quite there.

Listen on Spotify
Buy from Amazon
Official Website

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