STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO - Somewhere In The Between

Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere In The Between

10 songs
44:31 minutes
***** ****


Nobody can accuse Tomas Kalnoky of being a fast songwriter. Although early last year his band Streetlight Manifesto released a new take on Catch 22’s Keasbey Nights, it’s been four years since they came with any new material. The waiting is over, finally, and Somewhere In The Between should be considered their rightful second album. Although it lacks the ferocity of the debut, Streetlight Manifesto are still a league of their own, with no other current ska band even coming close to their special brand of swing polka ska punk. Kalnoky is still the best and most dedicated lyricist you will find in this genre, and once again he has assembled a cast of horn players around him that make you shiver with glee. Normally I like ska, but don’t really get too excited about it. Streetlight Manifesto confront Kalnoky’s rather fast and rough vocals with one of the most accomplished brass sections of the world, as if the Blues Brothers had decided to become a ska punk band.

As good techniques is not everything, you also get plenty of good songwriting. Not a single track disappoints. Each one would be the highlight on any other band’s album. As it is here, some songs still stick out as being even a little more superior, like the opener and single edit We Will Fall Together, the ultra-dynamic One Foot In The Gas, One Foot In The Grave which starts slowly enough to build an incredible momentum, and finally the mind-shivering The Blonde Lead The Blind where the brass section has some really punching trumps up their sleeves. It also needs to be mentioned that the band is often at their best at their longer songs, which give them the opportunity to add more ideas. And ideas they certainly never seem to lack.

At times I also feel reminded of Elvis Costello during his critically under-appreciated but genial period around the late Eighties and early Nineties, when he also collaborated extensively with very elaborated brass scores. Except that Streetlight Manifesto are much, much faster.

Somewhere In The Between is an undisputable improvement over Keasbey Nights, but not necessarily better than their epochal debut. If you want to buy only one ska album this winter, make sure it will be the new Streetlight Manifesto CD.

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