Mrs. Skannotto - All These Evolutions | ThePunkSite.com
All These Evolutions
Song: Every Day
||Reviewer: Cole Faulkner
I won’t pretend to know much about ska-punk mainstays Mrs. Skannotto. Apparently the lively six-piece has been kicking around since the late 90’s and has been sharing the stage for fifteen years with some of the biggest names in third-wave ska. With their latest album, All These Evolutions, the band demonstrates a tight command of their brass and a very slick overall presentation.
Right from the start Mrs. Skannotto makes clear that they mostly align with modern music than with past trends. Front man Joe Harmon projects a cool and capable vocal performance that seems to hit every note bang on. Throw in line upon line of varied horn blasts, smooth sequenced slides, and you’ve got one heck of an energetic set piece. The most frantic of the bunch will surely appease those that can never seem to get enough of Streetlight Manifesto or Catch 22. Early on “Just As Well” and “Wage War” boast frantic upstroke-heavy verses paired with fleeting salvos of bombastic, pulsing brass. Meanwhile, those like “Poll Dancer” speak to fans of 3rd wave classics like Buck-O-Nine or Mustard Plug. This much attitude the rhythm sticks with listeners well after the music stops.
All These Evolutions avoids exhausting its audience by cycling through a plethora of styles across their lengthy fifty minute run time. For “Lost & Found” Harmon dabbles in rough, pseudo-hardcore vocals to emphasize the final verse, whereas those like “Free Speech Zone” take a nod from smoky, fedora dominated jazz club sets. “Every Day” even builds an identity around the some psychedelic, Hendrix leaning guitar riffs and heavy distortion. The instrumental and vocal contrast achieved between the smartly sequenced “Alone” and “Note Alone” demonstrate Mrs. Skannotto’s unmistakable consciousness of their craft.
And perhaps most crucial to any ska album, the band keeps the level of repetition to a minimum. This isn’t to say that some tracks don’t drag, or that there isn’t some filler peppered here and there, but by and large the album never outstays its welcome.
The band identifies themselves as pioneers of the fabled fourth wave of ska. While this might be a topic better left for related community discussion forums, there’s no denying that All These Evolutions marks one of the genre’s standout offerings over the past few years. And while they do not reach the same level of experimentation and discovery as Bid D & The Kids Table has with “stroll” music, Mrs. Skannotto’s ability to engage their audience should not be over looked.