Review Summary: British party punks bring the sunshine. Ska ain't as dead as you thought.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
I got bored of ska.
It started to really grate on me. Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake conjured garish technicolour images in my mind of cartoonish losers flipping burgers at a stand on Sunset Boulevard, their saccharine faux-punk power chords sounding fun, but only after a few Jagerbombs. Madness, the Specials, the Beat were good musicians, but I found their songs sparse, sluggish and in the case of Dammers' crew, more than often slightly depressing.
Enter Imperial Leisure. Throw away every single preconception you ever had about ska, you miserable git, and for God's sake live a little. They may be a small part of a flourishing scene of ska bands playing with looped samples and MCs, but dammit, they're doing it well. It's heading up to November now here, but if you get your hands on this album and crank the volume sufficiently, you'll want to slap on the Factor 50 as well. Make no mistake, this is fun stuff.
The opening licks of Untouchable may sound like your run-of-the-mill horns and upstrokes combo, but four bars in comes the sound of hyperactive scratching, and next a double-barrelled lyrical assualt reminiscent of the best stuff to come out of UK hip hop in recent years. For me, early Will Smith sprang to mind; it's that same sense of fun but at the same time, precision engineered to push exactly the right buttons. Clatter on through Man on the Street and The Beast, and you encounter bouncy punk choruses that WILL have you singing along. The two standout tracks, Landlord's Daughter and Great British Summertime are dirty ragga-punk that could only come out of London, while Alperton ends with a rousing pub chorus of 'that's what you get mate, for being a wanker'. Pukka.
If you've had enough of third-rate third wave, obtain this album somehow, and all is forgiven.