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Various Artists
Dead Band's Party: A tribute to Oingo Boingo
Indianola Records
www.indianolarecords.com


Normally, something like this tends to not work nearly as well as one would hope that something like this might work upon first hearing an idea for something like this. "Let's get a bunch of bands together and do a tribute to Oingo Boingo." A simple enough idea, and with the right bit of research and collecting of talent, this kind of thing goes rather well… but as often as not, these independent label tributes tend to be more bad than they are good. Thankfully, Dead Band's Party is an exception to this generally mediocre rule. This collection is mostly punk and ska bands that have obviously listened to a bit of Oingo Boingo in their formative years. There are very few tracks that seem as though they were put together just for this compilation, instead, most of these songs sound good enough to seem as though they are regular parts of the bands' repertoires.

Clear Static gets the record rolling with a very cool cover of "Dead Man's Party". Their version is filled with crispy production, cool vocal effects, and note for note guitar parts. Immediately, I was impressed and couldn't wait to hear more. The Matches drive home the point of "Violent Love" with a ska-punk ferocity that grabs the listener by the throat and gently caresses the breath out of the lungs. This is a perfect song to crank up and skank away the night. Reel Big Fish dubs their way into a brilliant upbeat rendition of "We Close Our Eyes" (probably my favorite Danny Elfman song.), keeping areas of open sound inside the melody, and focusing instead on the real bones of the song. Over It's cover of "Stay" mimics the original very closely, but adds a sinister tone that creates an edgier mood, and they mix in very Dickies' sounding guitar tones. Jessica Burgan does a fine job with "Not My Slave", taking a very minimalist approach to the song, starting out slow and empty, then gradually filling the song into a raucous synthesizer heavy ska noise-fest.

Dead Band's Party is a fine collection of tracks from well-known and not so well known bands that stay fairly close to the ska and pop punk side of things. The interpretations of the various Boingo songs are generally brilliant and inspired, completely making me reconsider my blanket statements on independent tribute records.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
01. Clear Static - Dead Man's Party
02. Let Go! (fka The Stereo) - Only a Lad
03. The Matches (w/ Zebrahead) - Violent Love
04. The Rocky Raccoons - Little Girls
05. Reel Big Fish - We Close Our Eyes
06. RX Bandits - Grey Matter
07. Hello Goodbye - Weird Science
08. Plain White T's - Better Luck Next Time
09. Stairwell - Just Another Day
10. Suburban Legends - On the Outside
11. Over It - Stay
12. The Aquabats - The Controller
13. Jessica Burgan - Not My Slave
14. Finch - When the Lights Go Out


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