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You don’t have to be into ska to enjoy this album. Not at all. You just need to be prepared for your face to be rocked off by what is, in my opinion, one of the most epic records of all time. And by epic, I don’t mean in the internet-meme-speak way. I mean it in the majestic-destroying-everything-in-its-path-awesome way.
Of course, I am biased. Being a long-time Streetlight Manifesto fan, I eagerly awaited the release of Somewhere In The Between from the day it was announced. But that doesn’t change that fact that it is truly a masterpiece. In the way that NOFX’s Punk In Drublic is legendary in the punk scene, this album should become legend in whatever genre Streetlight is calling themselves these days.
Anyway, I’ve built it up enough. Let’s get to this review.
I couldn’t ask for a better opener. We Will Fall Together is a brassy in-your-face power tune that is sure to get your attention. It is also one of three, count ’em three, religion-bashing songs in the album. Some say they might be beating a dead horse with that, but somehow, they find a way to be pretty original every time. Such is the genius of singer/songwriter Tomas Kalnoky.
Next, we mellow off a bit (but only for a bit) with Down, Down, Down to Mephisto’s Cafe (Religion-bashing-song #2) which is a little reminiscent of Streetlight’s days from Everything Goes Numb.
Would You Be Impressed? is a catchy number that highlights the band’s musical prowess. With themes of macabre, guilt, and shame, it’s definitely an interesting tune.
One Foot On The Gas, One Foot In The Grave takes an old cliche and hammers something completely new out of it. A melodic intro quickly transitions to a fast-pace run through the meaningful lyrics.
Watch It Crash, the darkest tune of the album, is also arguably the most powerful. With an almost metal-like breakdown towards the end, it truly stands out as a resounding anthem.
This is followed by the happier title track, another catchy tune. It’s got a great solo section followed by a nifty little horn trio featuring trombonist Mike Soprano playing lead. i would go on to say that lyrically and musically, this is among the band’s best songs. You should also check out an acoustic version sung by Tomas, which can be found on Youtube. Simply beautiful.
The next two tracks definitely ring out as the most ska-ish songs on the album, and I’ll be the first to say that there’s nothing wrong with that. Forty Days is a slower almost reggae-influenced tune, and The Blond Lead The Blind (Religion-basher #3) is a fast-pace race ending in the highest trumpet note I’ve ever heard.
The Receiving End Of It All goes back to the darker tone of the album, but does not fall short musically or lyrically.
Finally, we end with a great closer, the defiant What A Wicked Gang Are We. A fantastic way to end the album.
If you haven’t heard this album, you need to. Get yourself ready for the emotional and musical journey that is Somewhere In The Between.