The London ska-punk-dubsters combat life’s ugly side by injecting a dose of optimism into the world via their latest LP
As we edge ever closer to summer, and hopefully some sunshine, London ska-punk-dubsters, Popes Of Chillitown return with their third album, Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard. The band are adept at melding ska, punk, two-tone, and drum & bass with the smooth grooves of reggae and dub. Adding a smattering of hip hop lyricism, and bounties of melodic genius to the mix, the Popes’ sound is complete.
Get Off/Get On is the album’s lead single, and it is a prime example of the band’s songwriting style. From the start, energy bursts from the speakers as colourful melodies from the horns dance and twist above the guitar, bassline and drums. The lyrics are catchy and flow well with the song, bringing the elements nicely together.
It’s important to clarify that this isn’t simply another bouncy ska record. At it’s core the album picks at the scab of life, taking a disgruntled view of how negative and nasty people drain the goodness from the world. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a sense of optimism, a way out of this seemingly never-ending path of nihilism humanity appears to be on. Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard is trying to change the tone of society, making it one of acceptance rather than one of hate.
The discontent the band has for the world can be heard in songs like Vexed, Lego Prisoners, and Upside Down; the latter features some interesting drum patterns and timings, while Graveyard reflects the bands innovative side.
Verdict: Not your average ska album