When I heard about the recent Warrington Ska Punk Show, and listened to a few of the acts that had been announced, I was genuinely gutted that I couldn’t attend. Having lost touch with the ‘local music scene’ somewhat over the years, I have to admit that I had never heard of any of the bands. But… a quick listen to Millie Manders & The Shutup, The Siknotes and Broken 3 Ways makes me regret that!
It also reminded me that in a genre heavily dominated by American bands that we have so many great bands in the UK. I mean, there’s at least 20 – all of which feature on the compilation produced by the same monkeys behind the WarringtonSkaPunk.co.uk : “You Know What Mate? This Actually Ain’t Half Bad!”.
We have so much amazing talent here in the UK and this compilation is clear proof of that!
“You Know What Mate? This Actually Ain’t Half Bad!” is, as the front cover rightly proclaims, “an unrelentingly enjoyable UK ska punk compilation”. It’s made up of 22 songs by 22 UK bands covering a selection of sub-genres of ska-punk – there’s the trumpet-punk sounds of Skaciety and Millie Manders & The Shutup; the reggae-esque easydread and The Undercover Hippy; or the more straightforward, traditional ska-punk styles of A Fish Called B*****d and Popes of Chillitown.
It’s an easy album to listen to, and the mix of artists and styles blends together seamlessly. It’s hard to find anything to criticise in the compilation – in both the packaging and the music. The artwork is bright and vibrant and has a cheeky feel to it – a style that fits perfectly with the music it contains. For some reason I always associate ska-punk with having fun and being a bit tongue-in-cheek about life and its issues – such as singing about your favourite shirt (OK, I’m showing my age with that reference…). However the hand-drawn liner notes remind you that it’s still a very DIY scene – the whole thing just reeks of ska-punk. It’s fun, it’s a bit cheeky but it knows its roots.
As I stated earlier, prior to this compilation I was not familiar with any of the artists – this is not something I’m proud of, I’m just stating facts. I always say that the sign of a great band is when you can see them live without knowing any of their songs but still enjoy every single part of the show. I think that’s the same with compilations too. Showing my age again, going back 20+ years to the Fat Wreck “Fat Music for Fat People” and Epitaph “Punk-O-Rama” series; I always came away from those thinking there are a few bands I’d like to check out… but most of it was pretty generic and forgettable. I’m pleased to say I didn’t get this feeling with “You Know What Mate? This Actually Ain’t Half Bad!”.
The opening track on this comp from Callum And The Beards is an odd addition – it’s not even a song! It is, however, actually quite amusing… *Editor – this was actually just my mate Callum banging a flight case and shouting “Oy!*
Moving on through the CD we have a lot of infectious tunes, none of which sound generic or samey. Stand out tracks for me included:
- “Yesterday’s News” by Skaciety – an enjoyable 3-minute romp of trumpet-infused ska-punk;
- “Brave” by Millie Manders & The Shutup – aggressive trumpet-punk with raw female vocals;
- “Restore Factory Settings” by Call Me Malcolm – a chilled out ska track that reminds me of lazing in the sun with a nice cold beer;
- “10 Years” by Last Edition – a great tune for skanking along to;
- And “Cocktails” by Faintest Idea – one of the heavier songs on the CD.
I’m not going to attempt to review every single song here, rather the compilation as a whole. In a nutshell it has reignited my passion for hunting out the smaller bands – we have so much amazing talent here in the UK and this compilation is clear proof of that. I, for one, will be heading over to Bandcamp to add many of these artists to my music collection.
If you have any interest in the UK ska-punk scene then this compilation is a great introduction to some great bands – even if you don’t end up buying the music, make a mental note of the names
and support them at your local club, should they be playing near you. It has honestly left me wondering how I have managed for so long without two fingers in my bum hole having these bands in my life. Join the trumpet-punk revolution!
It would be a bit rich, us reviewing our own compilation album… so this review comes to you courtesy of: MaFt. He is also known for his amazing NewOnNetflix websites and 2PGR.net where he reviews two player board games!