We might as well quit counting what “wave” we’re on, because it seems like ska—the music the most white people feel confident dancing to—will be popular forever, at least with the kids. In the tradition of bands like Skankin’ Pickle and Operation Ivy, the mostly girl band The Local Skank play silly, good-time, horn-infused ska music with a slight punk edge. The band’s gender matters little, although you can’t help noticing that the Local Skank’s singing is far better (really great at points) and the band doesn’t sound like aggressive, rushed teenagers, like so many of their male ska-punk peers.
The song topics on the Local Skank’s newest album Collect All Five! are all very literal, told in story or joke form, addressing childish concerns such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (“Fatty Snax”) and who is a slut (“That Girl”), with a childish sense of glee. “Stalker Ex-Girlfriend” and the silly hardcore joint “Bummer Pie” telegraph their intentions via their titles. Album opener “Confused” is the most sincere and best track, with great singing and clever, insightful lyrics about a confused young couple.
Other than the unfortunate fact that during the “punk” sections (such as on the record’s thinnest number, “My Friend Pants”) the guitar distortion is somewhat quieter than the clean guitar, the record boasts impeccable production. But like most genre-specific music, the Local Skank to some degree just filling the blanks on a previously created template. The guitarist doesn’t usually have to think of what to play; it’s been mostly pre-decided. Still, in terms of doing something that’s been done a lot, The Local Skank’s version is especially well done.