In their album “All These Evolutions,” Mrs. Skannotto certainly do prove at least half of their claim that their “sound has evolved with the times.” While the album is certainly somewhat of a departure from the band’s previous work (a respectable 25 years of making music), it doesn’t quite push any limits exterior to the band’s own style.
It’s hard to feel like this is an evolved reincarnation of ska, rather than just half ska songs and half horn-laden rock songs, each with their own territory. “Not Alone,” “The Blame,” “New Belief,” and “Fair-Weather Foe” are fairly straight ska or rocksteady tracks that do not distinguish themselves. Tracks like “Wage War,” “Just As Well,” and “Free Speech Zone” are rock songs that briefly become ska songs for a short moment here and there. The core of the tracks never amounts to much more than “Bosstones lite” style.
There are still a few good tracks to this album’s merit. “Poll Dancer” is a great dancing-in-the-shadows feeling ska punk song, even though it’s still undeniably 3rd wave ska, and nothing that bands like Mustard Plug haven’t hit a thousand times already. “Alone” is a great slow jazz instrumental featuring fantastic playing by trombonist Evan Dobbins. “Everyday” comes across as the strongest track on this album that has a great funk rock groove and a hypnotic horn-led bridge.
“All These Evolutions” has some great songs, but as an album fails to present its own identity and conserves itself well within the bounds of the Ghost Of Ska Bands Past. Sadly, the 4th wave of ska will continue to be elusive.