Reviewed by Aleem Hossain
That crazy ska band from Denver, Colorado, unleash their fifth CD on their expectant fans, and what a gutsy project it is! Right through from start to finish, the listener is bombarded with compelling lyrics; toe-tapping grooves and infectious tunes that keep making you go back for more! On their live album Five Iron Frenzy gave us a taste of some of what was to come with "Ugly Day" and its upbeat "woah-ohs" and the Columbine-inspired "A New Hope" which explores the reasons for the massacre. And now, at last, here is the rest of the new material... The band show their ability to cover more light hearted subjects such as hair cuts in the metal-driven "The Phantom Mullet" and their home state of Colorado in the outrageously funny "You Probably Shouldn't Move Here". And yet, they are not afraid of addressing taboo issues such as homophobia in "Fahrenheit" and Christian isolationism in "Four-Fifty-One". Musically, this album is a masterpiece. Styles are diverse, from rock to Latin and metal to reggae, whilst still staying faithful to the roots of ska. Reese Roper leads the band superbly with his unique vocal style, and even showcases his supreme yodelling. The horn players show what fantastic musicians they really are. Guest percussionists, notably Karl Perazzo of Santana, add to this band's musical diversity. Micah Ortega and Sonnie Johnston show off their talents as they switch almost seamlessly from metal to delicious ska guitar. Standouts on the album are "All The Hype" which is a fast paced, light hearted rap about people who use their music to expand their inflated egos, and the worshipful and poetic, yet strangely zany, "World Without End". Their cover of Tom Jones's "It's Not Unusual" injects a dose of Five Iron magic, to give this classic hit a youthful rejuvenation. "Giants" is a robotic anti-capitalist number with an anthem-like ending, and the Latin-style "Hurricanes" is a reverent, worshipful offering. Overall, this album is an exciting musical journey, navigated by one of Christian music's finest ska bands. If you can listen to this album and not dance along, check your pulse!
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