Class As On A School Night

Think of silly or light-hearted music and it's easy to get visions of ‘ The Fast Food Rockers’, ‘Cheeky Girls’ or even that South American goat herder from X-factor. So it’s refreshing to realise that there are bands out there giving ironic shoutouts to South-Central Compton, sampling a ‘little red riding hood’ talking book and setting it all to an accomplished and interesting musical backdrop. With songs covering such subjects as immunisation, ways to get arrested and mashed potato it’s all too clear that this is a band with their tongues firmly in a collective cheek. Still, even The Offspring have made the odd ‘fun’ record that didn’t (immediately) grate; making an album of eleven tracks that can retain my interest is a totally different game. The songs clock in at a time approaching, on average, 5 ½ minutes, but such is the flow that you wouldn’t realise until the album’s long since finished. This is in no small part aided by the clever use of interludes and superb variety across both individual songs and the album as a whole. With their feet well set in the Ska-Punk camp it’s the intricacy of the arrangements and the genuine fusing of styles which sets this apart from the derivative skanking music that has steadily permeated Portsmouth over the past few years. Yet, despite what should theoretically be a challenging mix of calypso beats, frantic tapping guitar solos and sultry jazz piano, the pop elements never let it veer from being incredibly listenable. The album itself has the characteristics of a red velvet rope, but with very accommodating bouncers. It always maintains a façade of elitism and credibility, but at the same time it never becomes inaccessible. It’s a fine line to tread, but one that the band have achieved superbly and should propel them far. In fact, I may even go so far as to describe it as Class A (on the odd school night).