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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

St. Thomas Boys Academy- Homecoming review

St. Thomas Boys Academy ‘Homecoming’ album review

Undoubtedly, St. Thomas Boys Academy have the power any good band should at their live shows; their balanced hybrid of Oi!-based punk and traditional third wave ska makes for a very evened-out set list and a powerfully energetic performance. In addition, the first album ‘Welcome to the Academy’ had a really excellent output of tracks. Naturally, upon hearing of a new release by this band, I got excited, attended the CD release show, and picked up this 20-minute long album to see what the boys of the academy could do with Marky Shift as another guitarist and four more years of experience of playing out. Needless to say, the additional guitarist and additional experience created a vastly different sound.

The first song, ‘Motorhead’, is an angry love song that has no actual connections to the famous proto-crossover thrash band, but still starts the band off with the energy that they are remembered for. I still can’t connect the song title to the lyrics, unless if cocaine is anthropomorphic or something to that effect. The next song is technically a cover of guitarist Marky Shift’s old band The Red Shift’s song ‘Circle Pit’, although it’s much faster and now has a horn line for the chorus. This track is a great improvement on the Red Shift track and is a real show-starter for the band. Next is ‘Just Believe’, a cry for the working family to be returned to its glory days. It’s a plea for a man to be able to support himself and his family, for his company to not abandon him and outsource labor, forcing a painful economic regression. It’s a very somber track, but it is hopeful and energetic nonetheless. After this is ‘Staring at the Sun’, which is a greater emphasis on the Oi!/ street punk influences of the band. It’s a decent track, but I’ve noticed the live version is a lot more powerful, the chorus is much louder, and the horn lines more influential. Still solid Detroit ska, however. Following is the title track of the album, which is the best track of the entire album. It has the bouncy third wave feel to the verses and the powerful street punk feel to its chorus. This is probably the highlight of the band; this track is one of the best tracks to come out of the Detroit ska scene in the past decade. After the title track is the song ‘Is This the Point?’, which was, at least to me, a bit of a filler track; it was okay, but it just didn’t grab me in the same way the rest of the tracks had as of yet. Next was ‘Greyhound’, the song which brought the album back to greatness; this track was a true narratie announcing what the band truly felt, speaking loud and clear. Wrapping up the album was ‘Poor Should Unify’, which pushed the family man-centered, working-class oriented philosophy of St. Thomas Boys Academy to the breaking point, driving their points home, calling for the Detroit proletariat to unite and call for a sustainable future in the greater Detroit area. The riff is particularly memorable and the vocals are absolutely stunning.

This album has set the bar for this recent wave of Detroit ska to equal. Since Treehouse Rivals never released anything beyond a 5-song EP, these guys are the best of the best for Detroit ska with this album. If there was ever a successful fusion of the origins of 2-Tone ska and the punk-ska hybrid of the third wave, this is fucking it. It doesn’t hurt to throw in some brutal Detroit grit into the blender to concoct a smoothie of an album to be consumed as soon as possible. Considering the price of this album, it is WELL-worth the investment. Get this whenever you can, however you can, as soon as you can.

-Aunty Social

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