Mighty Mighty Bosstones Pay Attention

Ska-core really doesn't apply to Bean Town's baddest-ass band any more. Drop the ska, pump up the core and you're closer to it. MMB's seventh album in ten years, and their first since '97s Let's Face It, is 16 songs and fifty minutes of solid energy, power punk, knee-jerking melodies and mosh-pit madness. The lonely, worldly, bruised Irish tough guy, like their famous bulldog, is as much a part of the Bosstones' image as their familiar, pioneering ska-core sound. Dicky Barrett's growling has never sounded more urgent, the horns never sharper, the music never more charged. While the band as a whole has been moving further and further away from their ska-core roots - a brand they popularised, if not invented - the clear and catchy blasts from Burton/Brockenborough/Fleysher's brass set still capture a vitality that grabs the listener by the scruff of the neck and swings him around till he's nothing but sweat and bones. The band's well-considered and highly successful foray into a calypso-steel drum sound on the tender and weepy "She Just Happened," is the one break from an otherwise solid brick wall of brass-core. (Island)