Streetlight Manifesto - Keasbey Nights

14 songs
46:48 minutes
***** ***


Cover versions can be fun, but is it really necessary to cover an entire album? Camper Van Beethoven apparently failed a couple of years ago by trying to redo Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. So why should Streetlight Manifesto, after only one release, cover the debut album by ska punks Catch 22? Musical history lessons clear things up, because it was Streetlight Manifesto singer Tomas Kalnoky who was not only a founding member of Catch 22, but also single-handedly wrote Keasbey Nights. There must have been some bad blood between both bands as Kalnoky didn't want his album re-released under the Catch 22 moniker, so he offered to rerecord it with Streetlight Manifesto.

Complicated story, and for those (unlike me) who know the original album from 1998, probably an interesting exercise in comparative musicology, but if I hadn't known it, I would have accepted Keasbey Nights as a regular new Streetlight Manifesto album. All the trademarks are there: extremely fast but always melodic song structures, the best brass and horns section that ska can provide, and dark lyrics that just don't seem to fit the upbeat nature of the music, but then Mr Kalnoky has maybe a sense of deepest black humour. Especially As The Footsteps Die Out Forever has some of the most heartbreaking lyrics I have ever read. Don't approach them without your hankies.

I don't know if I prefer this album to their debut though. It is at times harder, especially Giving Up, Giving In has strong punk moments, but after more than two years, I would have been happy to get new compositions by ska punk's best band at the moment. Keasbey Nights is still a welcome addition to any good ska collection.

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