Album Review: The First Chairs – “Plastic and Prestige”

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The First Chairs’ “Plastic and Prestige” landed in my inbox the other day with a short note from Dave about it being ska and “I hope that’s ok”. Of course it’s ok. My one stipulation about writing reviews for the venerable (is DS old enough to be “venerable” yet?) DS was that I DID NOT want to pick the music I reviewed.

I was honestly a little surprised that new punk-ska records (with a horn section!) were still being made. I haven’t heard a band playing this style since back before many of you readers had hit puberty. I myself may have even dabbled in the black arts of ska-punk at that time. Perhaps my band(s) may have even had the word “ska” in their name(s). You can’t prove anything.

That said, The First Chairs do the genre justice.

The trombone/trumpet starts of the record with a little duet reminiscent of the intro of The Aquabats’ “CD Repo Man”, and pretty much follows the script from there as I remember it. At least, that’s what I thought it was going to be until the third (and title) track “Plastic and Prestige” kicked in with a tuba (Sousaphone?) solo. Not that a little polka flavor was completely unexpected out of a band from Kenosha, Wisconsin, but nice job surprising me guys.

This is not a bad debut EP (demo? Don’t EPs have 5-6 songs?) and if these guys keep on keeping on, their next effort could be a welcome revitalization of a dormant genre. You can download it at http://thefirstchairs.bandcamp.com/

3.5 Stars out of 5


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