The Upshot: Classic punk tunes get a reggae/dub/ska/dance hall treatment, and with surprisingly impressive results.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
Cover albums are nothing new for punk rock and ska bands. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a ska album in the 1990s that didn’t have at least one token ironic cover (Reel Big Fish, in fact, owe a great deal of their career to songs by A-Ha and Tracy Chapman). But Mad Caddies take the usually phoned-in covers concept and hands in an impressive alternative to the normally stale offerings with Punk Rocksteady.
Across a dozen tracks, the California ska/punk long stays take a slew of punk rock classics and cram them through a horn heavy reggae/dub/ska/dance hall filter and the results are surprisingly impressive.
Though some of the songs they take liberties with come from longtime friends and label mates – lower stakes, coming from groups whose influence are pretty in line with their own – like NOFX’s “She’s Gone,” Lagwagon’s “Alien 8” and the late Tony Sly’s “AM.” Elsewhere though they take some bigger risks by tackling a nearly flawless punk nugget like Bad Religion’s “Sorrow” or the Misfit’s “Some Kind of Hate,” songs with history and real stakes and with each cover, Mad Caddies mange to make them entirely their own.
The world probably didn’t need another cover album, but thankfully the Mad Caddies didn’t heed that advice.
DOWNLOAD: “Sorrow,” “She” and “Alien 8”