Review Summary: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones debut with a stellar ska/core album that shows why they turned ska upside down in the mid-eighties.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones debut with a stellar ska/core album that shows why they turned ska upside down in the mid-eighties. The first track Devils Night Out is a heavy song whose sound alternates between punk and ska and shows off the gravely rough singing style Barrett would later become known for. The next track Howwhywuz Howwhyam, a play on words meant to read how I was how I am, does just that. It discusses Barrett’s attitude in younger days and reflections of his father. The song has great lyrics that describe the feeling of growing older, a theme that would stay with The Bosstones for their entire career. Drunks and Children makes for a fun drinking song, it’s a fast paced ska song that’s belted out in a set of rough scratchy vocals that helps showcase the Bosstones punk background.
The previous track flows nicely into the crowd favorite Hope I Never Lose my Wallet. A song with a different vibe than the rest of the album, it’s delivered much more smoothly, and is a slowed down track but it’s a fan favorite for a reason. Its lyrics are a fun sing-along and the guitar solo at the end will make you tune up your old air guitar. It’s followed up by the punk influenced Haji, which starts off with a sample of the I Dream of Genie and goes right into a rebellious sounding guitar riff. The song provides some good energy and some cool guitar work. The next three tracks make up a block of great drinking tunes. The Bartenders Story is a song you’re most likely to hear blasting out of an old barroom jukebox somewhere in Boston, Bartender ends abruptly and is replaced with the opening riff of Patricia, a fast paced punk song that provides some more heaviness on the album.
The album becomes more fun when the calypso themed The Cave (Congito Fiesta Version) starts to play. This song reminds me of a ska version of a Jimmy Buffett song; it has an upbeat tempo and an energetic horn piece that sets a really tropical atmosphere for the rest of the song, basically it’s a song to take shots to. Do Somthin’ Crazy is similar to Devils Night Out and is more in step with the rest of the album, relying on ska/core guitar work and heavy drums. Do Somethin crazy is another example of the Bosstones expertise at punk . The final song on the album A Little Bit Ugly, it starts off with a cool dialogue between Barrett and guest vocalist Jimmy Gestapo (of NYC punk band Murphy’s law) and then goes into a bluesy song. The song is very good instrumentally but shines vocally as the two singers blend their punk rock voices together into one antiestablishment bluesy ska song.
All in all the Bosstones debut shows the potential they had even in their early days. The songs are more punk oriented than ska but during that time in the 80’s punk bands were emerging all over the place, and the Bosstones took that and injected it with the ska influences punk goes with oh so well. A great album for Bosstones fans and fans of punk alike.