Planet Smashers No Self Control

Considering the recent mayhem coming out of the province of Quebec this past couple of months (protestors, cops, rubber bullets, Svend Robinson's pants), it may be forgivable for some bands to become a bit more jaded about their place in the grand scheme of things, or at least lose their sense of humour. Not so for all. With this fourth full-length album, the Planet Smashers cement their reputation as the top-grade jesters of Canadian ska. No Self Control, with 14 songs about sex, stupidity and the ever-present pissy attitude, is in many ways similar to prior outings: short, snappy pop ska tunes that accomplish much within a limited time frame. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, No Self Control is a testimonial to economic music making. No navel-gazing or superfluous studio experimentation here. Culled straight from the school of no-frills rock and ska, the songs - tarted up with a generous dollop of distortion, toms and fat sax - offer the same Smashers' horny humour and cynicism trademark. "We've been cynical since 'Pierce Me' [on 1995's self-titled debut]," says singer and guitarist Matt Collyer. "It's mostly tongue-in-cheek, but we're either super cynical or making fun of ourselves. There's always a lot of 'Ooooh, I'm so stoopid!' about being a big dummy." It's directly evident in their songs. But tracks like "Fabricated" and "Wish I Were American" denote a little social commentary about media hyperbole and zeal. The Smashers have never been particularly political, and while the album was written and recorded well before the Quebec City hoopla, "Fabricated" in particular has a certain resonance today. "I'm not totally comfortable with the whole free trade thing myself, but the way the media sensationalised [the events in Quebec], the message got really warped. There are ads on Global TV about how their news team 'was there.' It's kinda funny." One last notable element to the record is the high production level. Produced by Steven Drake, who worked with the Odds, 54-40 and most recently on Gordon Downie's Coke Machine Glow, the gnarly rawk sound is also more prominent here. Engineering duties were handled by Rod Shearer, who worked with Bran Van 3000, and Claus Frostrell, who provided rock-ska translating services. (Stomp)