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Home » Albums in Review

The Planet Smashers back with “Mixed Messages”

Submitted by on April 16, 2014 – 9:41 pmNo Comment

planet-smashersRewind to the year 1994, it’s a time of political change, teenage angst, and the era of ska. The Planet Smashers, from Montreal, were one of the main ska bands at the forefront of the movement.

Twenty years and eight studio album under their belt, they’re back in 2014 with their latest album Mixed Messages. This jam-packed 13-track gift from one of Canada’s greatest ska music ambassadors.

As soon as I hit play, I felt like I was back in high school again and instantly started bouncing to the sak riff of the opening track “Never Die Old.” The tune kicks in with your classic ska guitar lick and standard horn progression. The song’s hook reverberates their tenacity on the ska market, saying I told myself that I’d never die young, but I’m just not dying.

This album stands to prove that The Planet Smashers are nowhere near done making party tunes for the masses. Something else they provide concrete evidence of on the album with the upbeat satirical track “You Guys Are Asshole, Let’s Party.”

It has always amazed me how ska music has such a ubiquitous and easily identifiable style to it, yet these bands manage to get so creative and colour outside the lines, even though those lines are so tightly knit.ZIK5850549.1396962006.580x580The song “Don’t Look Down,” is one of the catchiest on the new album. It’s a little slower and has a little more flow, not to mention a deeper meaning.  Although it has a more somber ambiance to it than the rest of the album, don’t mistake that the message is supposed to be a positive one.

Punk and ska have always been closely associated, and the Planet Smashers show a little punk rock vibe in the tune “What’s Your Problem.” It opens with a palm muted style punk riff that transcends into your classic ska vibe.

Other notable tracks are “Snowbird,” an imagery filled track that speaks to the white or blue collar worker who desperately needs to break the monotony and get away. Also “Dark Personality,” is an awesome track that starts with an entrancing arpeggio style bass line similar to the Batman theme song – only fitting with the title, right?

Start to finish, Mixed Messages has all the trademark makings of a classic ska record, and it’s amazing to see giants from back in the day continuing to keep the genre alive. That’s one thing we can count on the Planet Smashers for.

Their first album back since they released Descent Into the Valley of the Planet Smashers back in 2011, they’ve definitely made it a point to continue to mark their territory in the realms of ska music. So if you’re looking for a soundtrack for your next keg-stand performance, this album should be a finalist.

Check out the first single from the new album “Tear It Up” below.

Review by Devin Size

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