Review Summary: We had one foot on the gas, and one foot in the grave, everyone was laughing when we said we had it made.
Being as there are no 5 reviews for this album, I figured I'd put in my two cents for what has become one of my favorite albums ever. Streetlight Manifesto's Somewhere in the Between
is packed to the brim with brilliant lyrics, near-perfect songwriting and a standout horn section. Proving that ska music can be intelligent and mature while retaining it's fun-loving, entertaining sound, this album is definitely a landmark for the genre.
The general consensus is that 2003's Everything Goes Numb
is Thomas Kalnoky and Co's best work to date. While it is an incredible album, this album proved that Streetlight had nowhere to go but up. While the aforementioned LP had some of the band's best tracks, including Point/Counterpoint
and Here's to Life
, there was definitely room for improvement, specifically in the songwriting department. Some clean breaks and transitions sounded out of place. Somewhere in the Between
virtually wipes out that issue; the parts flow together smoothly, and every one-liner, trombone solo and stop-start dynamic fits in perfectly. The sound of the album is quite interesting; Tom Kalnoky himself does not classify Streetlight as a ska band. The best way to describe the sound would be a mature, refined ska/punk sound with some experimental tendencies, and it couldn't be better. Extended horn harmonies, curveballs and genre breaks withing songs, and often obscure instrumentation define SITB
The album hits the ground running with We Will Fall Together
, and just one minute in, the listener knows they're in for one hell of an album. The lyrics on this song as superb as well; They're coming after all of us with everything they've got/With the fury of a soldier who will answer to his God
. This was the song that got me into Streetlight. The following several tracks constantly "mix it up" while retaining the signature Streetlight sound; some highlights are the clean, groovy intro of One Foot On the Gas, One Foot In the Grave
, the hard-hitting duration of Watch it Crash
, and the t-bone solo in Down Down Down to Mephisto's Cafe
. However, my descriptions can't really do them justice. Every song is superb in it's own way.
Furthering the experimental leanings of the album, the title track contains a jazzy, horn-centric break which makes me laugh almost every time. It's comedically and musically perfect. Forty Days
is an almost old-school ska song with some middle-eastern sounding horns. The Blonde Lead the Blind
features a two-minute instrumental section with the band's best horn work to date. The song that takes the cake for very best, however, is The Receiving End of It All
. It is the epitome of Streetlight; quickly-spurted, intelligent lyrics from Kalnoky, excellent drums from Chris Thatcher, memorable horn parts, and even a world-percussion bridge. The album comes to a close with What a Wicked Gang We Are Below
which is the fastest yet one of the catchiest, and would fit it on Everything Goes Numb
Trying to think of Somewhere in the Between
's flaws, there are essentially none. Everything is top notch and it's truly a definitive ska release. Would You Be Impressed
isn't up to par with the rest of the songs, but is great in it's own right. It may sound fanboyish, but Streetlight has created a modern classic with this album. A must have, even if you're not into ska music.