Earlier this year Canadian ska punks The Planet Smashers released their ninth studio album Too Much Information, which also corresponds with their twenty-fifth anniversary as a band. This album finds them continuing to expand upon their signature mix of upbeat two tone ska and punk.
The album abruptly starts with the titular “Too Much Information” as a bouncing horn line greets you without a proper introduction. In a song about the potential for oversharing via social media it is nice to get a sound that was massively popular before the advent of said media platforms. It drops an early English Beat meets the Police vibe that is ridiculously catchy. This sound is further explored with “Aim High” and “Going Out Solo” a couple of songs later.
“Break My Neck (A Love Song)” follows with what is arguably the best song on the album. In 2016 lead singer Matt Collyer fractured his cervical spine, he then used this to poetically pen a love song. “I may break my neck, but I will never break your heart” he croons in a way that is more intrinsically emotional than the rest of the album. The honesty on display is highly personal and it is obvious that this song is more than just another love song. Throughout the album the organ is featured, but not more perfectly than on this number. It is a bouncier sound that lends a little brevity to the heaviness of the lyrics.
The Planet Smashers still deliver on their classic high energy fun music with songs like “Brain Freeze” the product of being betrayed by a delicious treat, “Superfan” which is an ode to fans of ska still waiting for their fourth wave, and “Hookie” a banger about skipping work and having fun. This time the more playful “Light in Your Smile” cranks up the reggae side, and features some phenomenal drum work. However they do experiment and explore their craft a little with songs like “Good Vibes” and “Light in Your Smile”. The first being a clapping and drum heavy march that stands out on the album for how different it feels. However it seems like it would be a fan favorite in a live setting as it has the ability to draw the crowd into the production. Where “Light in Your Smile” is a playful reggae love song which again puts the drums at the forefront but this time with a margarita on the beach feel.
Too Much Information is a super clean sounding album, the horns are big and bright, the bass and drums sound deep and resonant, and the highlight is the organ which add a layer that really make these songs stand out. Combine this with lyrics that are humorous at times, and emotional at others and you get an album that moves both your heart and your feet.