Monday, 4 July 2011

Usual Players - Volume 1: Street Ska

If you don't believe we called this one months ago then you're a mug, simple as that. We told you back last June to keep an eye on Watford's own Usual Players... and now, a year later, we're telling you that their debut album 'Volume 1: Street Ska' is probably one of the most important albums to come out of the scene for longer than anyone probably cares to admit.

Taking this album at face value, it's 10 tracks of brass laden, North London Ska. A little punchier than original ska - maybe even more so than 2nd generation ska too but it's roots show through like a 'blondes' the week before payday.

The cover, and disc itself, are designed to look like a record. To say it's been done well is doing it no justice whatsoever - it looks the business. And as the album starts there's the crackle of a needle on vinyl and straight into track one 'Soul of Rock and Roll (is Dead)'...

The songs on Street Ska are honest, catchy and cover just about any aspect of modern life you'd care to think about - drugs, women, the state of the music scene and Facebook all get the Usual Players treatment. The playing is second to none, the lyrics are sharp and the production is top quality.

Highlights for me would have to be the insanely catchy 'Fancy a Facebook' - boasting one of those choruses that just makes you want to sing along and dance until you're sweating the beer out, 'Bad Pills', 'Lie, Cheat & Steal' and the track that, were there any justice would be played through loudspeakers outside every bar in town on a Friday night, 'So Whatford' - but there's something on here for everyone. You can't help but be swept up in the vibe when this album's playing. You want to get suited, booted and grab a can of lager. This is music to dance to, to listen to in the motor on the way to the pub and for those messy nights with the lads. This is 'Volume 1: Street Ska' and it's about as good as it gets.

The Usual Players on FACEBOOK

To get a copy of the album itself, get your fucking shoes on and get down the shops!

Usual Players - Fancy a Facebook - One Thirty Four Records by Usual Players