Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb

12 songs
55:03 minutes
***** ****


Ska is terrifically popular at the moment, and anyone who used to play in a punk band and has some friends who blow the trumpet in the municipal band seems to think that they can have their very own ska band. This of course dilutes the quality, and it becomes harder every month to discover good new bands.

Everything Goes Numb may be Streetlight Manifesto's debut album, but they are by no means beginners. When I first listened to their CD, I was surprised at the energy released on the twelve songs. Instead of adding ska elements to punk rock, or the other way around, they combine a hatful of different styles into their own agenda, which is a rare thing that deserves to be called original. Yes, now you heard it, here's a ska band that doesn't sound like any other one I can think of.

I mentioned already that these guys are no newcomers, in fact they are formed around vocalist and guitar player Tomas Kalnoky who was a founding member of ska punk legend Catch 22, a band I have to confess I only know from several compilations. Apart from guitar, bass and drums, you get four people playing all kinds of different blowing instruments (trombone, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet), which results in a very pleasing conglomerate of ska, jazz, swing and sometimes even a hint of klezmer. But don't worry, the music isn't slowed down by all these elements, but still remains its healthy punk rock energy, brilliantly conveyed by Kalnoky's snotty punk vocals.

The band's genius is shown best with Point / Counterpoint, a totally fast song that manages to go on for nearly six minutes without ever becoming boring. This is another thing to set them apart from other ska punk bands: their songs nearly average five minutes, not by being repetitive, but by adding so many different layers that making them shorter would be an insult. Everything Goes Numb is the best ska album I have heard this year (and I can say that now that the year has only one week left), and should be checked out by connoisseurs of the genre.

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