Skanktified  
Artist: Various 
Label: Eclectica/Diamante Music 

No matter where you hail from, it's hard to ignore the fact that the latest incarnation of the ska revival and trend has hit America, and hit hard.  After years of hiding on the shelves, bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Skatalites have been selling like hotcakes, attesting to this most recent ska revival. 

As with most popular trends, the Christian community has found a way to use such to reach the masses, saved or otherwise.  The Supertones are a prime example of this, reaching mainstream music stores across the nation, a trend seen in the Christian music industry overall, but certainly astounding in The Supertones's case, whose success can certainly be considered pleasing. 
 
So what does one see evolving from all this?  Quite obviously, a lot of ska bands have entered the music scene, been snatched up by labels left and right, regardless of message, in an attempt to grab hold of this most recent trend... and this is unfortunate, really.  I say this, because often times such actions end up diluting the genre, with the companies making a quick buck off a trend at the cost of real talent. This can and does happen, secular or not, and such is the case, unfortunately, with the recent Eclectica Records compilation, Skanktified.  

The album starts off strong, with The Dingees's "Wake Up" and The Skadiddles's "Unsaid", two songs that are quite beatworthy and danceable.  The addition of The Insyderz's "The Walking Dead" is great as well as is "Not for the Crowd," by The Hideout.  There are several other decent songs, however, I have to say that this album contains a whole lotta cheese as well.  The songs  "Encircler" by Genkideska didn't thrill me too much, and I was downright cringing on "Servin'," by Zion Youth Group and Sideshow Cafe's "Praise the Lord," both of which sounded like your basic kiddie praise song, backed with an upstroke guitar rhythm.  Somewhat disappointed with Big Dog Small Fence's addition, "Finite" as well, I can at least say that it stayed consistent with the a lot of the bands on the album. 

Overall, this album has a checkered feel to it ­- and I don't mean your typical two-tone impression of such.  While there are a few decent songs on the album, it just appears that too many of these bands simply just don't fill the bill when it comes to ska.  This album would be a decent one to play at youth rallies, I suppose, but I can't see myself regularly listening to it more than once or twice in its entirety.   

By Corey Welton  

 

 

N-Soul's Eclectica sub-label picked up this little ska-core compilation originally put together as an indie project.  It definitely sounds like an indie production, with fairly raw recordings of 22 different bands.  And it pushes on both ends of the "ska-core" label as some of it is fairly two-tone and some of it is pretty flat-out punk.  It's a little difficult to get a good feel for how each of these bands would sound given a full production budget.  Hearing The Insyderz do "The Walking Dead" here and comparing it with the version from Motor City Ska, makes it very clear that this album is not a finely polished creation.  But it does serve as an introduction to a variety of up and coming acts. 
  
One of my favorite tracks is Big Dog Small Fence's "Finite" with a nice bass groove, pretty good blend on the brass, and some thoughtful lyrics. Hearing The Israelites's contribution ("Israelite Train") makes me wish I hadn't missed them at Cornerstone last year.  And the coolest band name on the compilation has got to be GenkideSka (a little play on a Japanese phrase).  The goofiest track comes from Zion Youth Group ("Servin'"), the content of which reflects the band name quite well. 

If you're really looking for some new bands to check out in the future, you might want to check this out as a reference point, but it has not earned a place in my listening rotation. 

By Titi Ala'ilima