The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

When God Was Great

Written by: PP on 20/06/2021 16:32:48

The Bosstones are back to reassure everyone that ska is indeed not dead on their eleventh album "When God Was Great". Its predecessor "While We're At It" was one of the best albums within the genre in years, and "When God Was Great" picks up pretty much exactly where it left off. We're drenched in ska/reggae/punk with plenty of two-tone and upbeat, danceable ska melodies, encompassed in a mature rock soundscape that arguably puts them in the easy-listening category. See the piano-and-trumpets led "Certain Things" as an example. But hey, when your music is as catchy and laid back simultaneously as on the instantly memorable "I Don't Believe In Anything", why not ensure it appeals to the widest audience possible?

After eleven albums, The Bosstones have nothing to prove to anyone, which is perhaps why "When God Was Great" carries itself so effortlessly with pride and exemplary songwriting. Here, the band is having fun, without making ska into a foolish booze party (see: Reel Big Fish). Instead, we're skanking and dancing the nights away to the contemporary rock tunes accompanied with soothing trombone, saxophone, and bosstone instrumentation. Embodied by songs like "Bruised", it's just such a feel-good, laid-back expression that it's hard to comprehend who wouldn't love this kind of music. This is also the reason why The Bosstones are so cherished within the punk rock scene: "The Final Parade" features a grand total of 38 guest musicians - most of them legendary - ranging from Rancid's Tim Armstrong to members of Less Than Jake, H2O, Madball, Sonic Boom Six, Goldfinger, Interrupters, The Suicide Machines, Stiff Little Fingers, The Specials, and countless others in an eight-minute mammoth tribute to the ska scene that will surely go down in history as a timeless classic.

"When God Was Great" is packed with songs designed to get your hips moving and your feet skanking. Take a song like "You Had To Be There": its upbeat trumpets, charming keyboards, and ska beats are guaranteed to transform any live audience into a party atmosphere. If you're not moving your feet to this one live, you must be dead inside. And there are so many others like it on the record.

At fifteen tracks and almost an hour's worth of music, the record is a tad too long, however. The anonymous "What It Takes", the balladic "Long As I Can See The Light", and the somewhat forgettable "The Truth Hurts" and "It Went Well" are all examples of songs that could've been cut and they wouldn't have been missed much on the record. But despite a few shortcomings, the vast majority of "When God Was Great" is a masterclass in how to write contemporary ska/reggae/punk which appeals to the widest possible audiences without pandering to anyone. Infectiously catchy, upbeat cuts meet nostalgic ballads ("Lonely Boy") and huge sing-alongs. What more do you need?


Download: Move, The Final Parade, Bruised, You Had To Be There, I Don't Believe In Anything
For the fans of: Mad Caddies, Big D And The Kids Table, Suburban Legends, Reel Big Fish
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.05.2021

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