In the 1997 3rd wave ska explosion there were a lot of great ska bands. Reel Big Fish, and Catch 22 are probably the two most popular bands to come out of all of that, but no one really remembers Slapstick. With 25 songs and 54 minutes on this album Slapstick combines great guitar riffs, and some a very nice horn section. On this album Slapstick put 14 songs from there previous album and added 11 on here. This album isn't a compilation, it's just sort of like a cd crammed full of the bands only songs.
Members - Brendon Kelly - Vocals
Dan Andrianno - bass, vocals
Peter Anna - trombone
Matt Stamps - guitar
Dan Hanaway - trumpet, vocals
Rob Kellenberger - drums, vocals
Slapstick is one my favorite 3rd wave ska bands. Through some rough guitar riffs and drum beats, the music is backed up by a crisp horn section Slapstick makes awesome ska music. I'll tell you right now that the production of this album isn't the greatest. The instruments can sometimes sound sort of rough and blended together. In my opinion the production makes the album better because when you listen to this you feel like Slapstick is playing right in front of you. Slapstick has a lot of energy and you can definately feel it. The music has a very rough edge to it.
The horn section is definately awesome and very sharp, but what about the vocals? Brendon sort of snarls the vocals and this might get on some peoples nerves. The lyrics are snarles through punk/ska madness. Slapstick sound a little disorganized and they are all over the place. The vocals can get hard to understand in some points of the music because of the production.
Songs like "Sick of this place" and "Johnny" offer some of the best horn lines on the album. "Crooked" and "Good Times Gone" follow the typical 3rd wave ska song. 1) the quick guitar riff and 2) the quick horn section through the guitar riff. I'd say about 20 out of these 25 songs have guitar riffs, so if you want some guitar talent or some amazing guitar parts, Slapstick won't impress. The guitar riffs are just normal for 3rd wave ska, it won't amaze, but the horn section definately will. The horns are very sharp and appear in almost every song. Through the snotty, snarled vocals the horns shine. They are fast,quick,smooth and blend in perfectly with the music.
Now for those of you who are really picky about the sound production may not like this. I have to admit the first time that I heard this I wasn't very impressed, it is hard to adjust to. Brenden sounds a lot like the lead singer of NOFX and everything is sort of a mess. When I say a mess I say it in a good way, Slapstick may even have too much energy in some of there songs.
It is often said that Slapstick is more of a punk band than a ska band. I personally think that Slapstick is a 3rd wave ska band, but other people that hear them say that they are definately punk. It is all a matter of opinion. You could call them punk with horns if you'd like. If you like punk or ska, you should like Slapstick because they blend the two genres together almost perfectly. Brendens vocals are punk, and not your typical smooth ska voice, they are harsh and snarled. His vocals might turn some people off at first, but you just have to get used to them.
Lyrically Slapstick is actually decent. They sing about peace, hatred, and "The Park" is a great song about just mellowing out and getting along. Even though most of these lyrics won't amaze they certaintly arn't stupid and dull. Most of the time the lyrics are hard to hear so if you want to listen to lyrics you will really have to focus.
For a punk album 3/5
For a ska album 4.5/5
Overall rating 4/5
Pros : Blazing horn section
Slapstick has a lot of energy
Great guitar riffs
Cons : Vocals may get on some peoples nerves
Simliar bands : Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Catch 22
"Sick of this Place"