Reviews, interviews, articles, and other blather about music from the mind of Yugoboy

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mrs. Skannotto - Toys

Mrs. Skannotto

Rochester-based ska deities Mrs. Skannotto return with a brand new collection of original tunes, even more wide-ranging and ambitious than their previous effort Outlier (which is awesome; if you don't already own it, follow the link and buy it right away.)  Toys has more range and style, with more risks, most of which pay off nicely.  If you're a ska fan, don't worry about the rest of this review, just buy the record already! (When I wrote the review, I forgot that the disc doesn't come out until March.  Read on, dear listener.  Then, in March... then get the album.)
After the opening trill of "101," the boys jump into "Fire Man," which seems to be typical-sounding ska, but Joe Harmon does some vocal stuff I don't remember him doing before, with some notes being held a beat longer, and just a slightly more crooning sound.  It's not a huge adjustment, but I noticed it and found it added some real texture.  Based on the video found on their Facebook page, the first single is "Affluenza," a righteously rocking ska-punk tune.  Following that mosh-pit-filler, "Heartbeat" hearkens back to a slower, softer ska style.  Emphasizing the horns of Justin Lloyd (trumpet) and Evan Dobbins (trombone), this head-bobber may inspire traffic accidents as listeners close their eyes and sway to the sensation-filling sonic hang-gliding of "Heartbeat."
The majority of Toys hews closer to the Mrs. Skannotto oeuvre.  "Don't Drink the Wine" might have a message my wife doesn't want to hear, but the tune is uber-catchy, and "Grow" just owns everything awesome about the ska genre.  "Salo" slows the tempo down to near crooner level, avoiding a reggae/r&b mash-up by the tiniest bit.  The horns help a ton on that one, I must say.  Closing track "Resistance Is Fatal," starts with a very contemplative guitar solo from Mike Frederick, before launching full-bore into the second-fastest rocking track on the whole album.  The entire collection could not be this awesome without the full compliment of players, including bassist Dan Carter and drummer Alex Bochetto keeping pace.  These guys have been playing together for years, and it shows (in a very good way).
Taken as a whole, Toys represents significant stylistic growth while staying within the lines of ska.  While the genre might be marginal here in the 20teens, the late-90s saturation demonstrated a great deal about the range possible.  Mrs. Skannotto, by remaining true to their style find themselves musically checking out some new avenues and tones, which has resulted in a terrific ten song collection that cannot be missed by any fan of the genre.  Toys plays with styles and sounds, but is seriously excellent music.

No comments:

Post a Comment