Release Date: Dec 6, 2011
Record label: Big Rig Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk-Pop, Ska-Punk, Third Wave Ska Revival
Bosstones are back, doing what they do best, and better than the rest... In order to achieve immortality within one’s chosen field, it is said that you must either be the first, or be the best. When it comes to ska punk and its harder-edged cousin, ska-core, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are both. Never given either the time of day? Well, ‘The Magic Of Youth’ might be just the album to win you around.
This is the second independent release from Boston's skacore giants since their return from a multi-year hiatus in the mid-2000s, and while it offers no surprises, The Magic of Youth still yields plenty of satisfaction. It may seem strange to categorize an album of ska-tinged heavy metal as "old school," but the Bosstones have been working together for a quarter of a century now, and they continue to perfect what has become a well-established musical recipe: take enormous guitars, elegant horn charts, sudden shifts from face-melting metal to spare and galloping proto-reggae backbeats, and frontman Dicky Barrett's whiskey-voiced roar, and then blend and alternate them by turns. Over the years the band has added sharper and sharper melodic hooks to the mix, and if there's nothing here to quite match the ear worms of "The Impression That I Get" or "The Rascal King," there are still plenty of fine shoutalong choruses: "Like a Shotgun" is one good example, and "They Will Need Music" combines a glorious ascending horn part, a skanking verse arrangement, and an anthemic, fist-pumping chorus to great effect.
The bands that briefly rose to prominence in the early-to-mid-00’s emo craze could do worse than follow the map set out by mid-90’s ska hit-makers The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The band never overstayed it’s welcome after their brief flirtation with mainstream success (the No. 1 hit, “The Impression I Get”, AKA the only ska song your grandma knows) but simply kept plugging away, played to whomever wanted to see them, following The Dropkick Murphys to wherever “Shipping Up to Boston” allows them to play (this summer, it was Fenway Park) and release a new record every now and then.