Planet Smashers Grown Ups

Planet Smashers Grown Ups
Even though the Planet Smashers continue to act like juvenile drunks, don't start thinking they haven't grown up, at least a little. The Montreal five-piece have been showing alarming signs of maturity on their newest release, the aptly-titledLife of the Party .

The new album showcases a cleaner, more polished sound that was lacking on their two previous albums. It's what singer/guitarist Matt Collyer calls "more of the Smash, less of the Planet"; that translates into more musical complexity, substance and depth to their songs.

"This is the first album we've recorded with songs you don't think we can pull off live," says Collyer. "There's all this experimental shit we thought we'd never do. There's dub, there's rap - there's a new influence getting into the band."

The new influence, suspicious as it sounds, is actually a funny little thing called skill. The Smashers' development as musicians is noticeable - the songs on the album are, quite simply, just plain better. But fortunately, the attitude remains.

"We've remained cynical, we've maintained the ability to laugh at ourselves," Collyer explains, "but we learned how to play our instruments. We've learned so much over the past five years about ska music and how it divulges into all its different forms."

Indeed. Dare we compare, old and new?

"Oh man," Collyer groans, "I can't even listen to our first two records. Attack of the Planet Smashers doesn't come close to the new one. There's more energy, more life, the band's tighter, and there's an attitude we didn't have on the previous ones."

Bassist Dave Cooper, in an aside, steps in. "But [Attack ] made up with charm what it lacked in craft." This summer, watch for the Smashers wearing the lampshade and spiking the punchbowl at a Canadian venue near you.