Various 2Tongue: Le Quebec En Montre Une!

This lengthy (22 track, 66-plus minute) compilation is an apropos nod to a certain long-standing irony in the Canadian ska scene: if Montreal is the country's undisputed ska centre (and it is), where are all the francophone bands? The leading ska bands around today (Kingpins, Planet Smashers, Gangster Politics and Undercovers) are all tete-carrees. Not a Frenchie among 'em, even if they do release the odd Franco tune. This comp highlights some up-and-coming, dyed-in-the-pure-wool Quebecois bands with some added bonuses to boot. The best thing about this fun, charming little comp is hearing the bands that don't make it into the big markets because of the ever-sticky language issue. Alaska's "La Ballade au Cimetiere" kicks off the album with a solid, low-key, jazzy number — hopefully a harbinger of good things to come — while Anomalie's "Le Nez" skilfully interweaves an unlikely flute into an otherwise ska-punk song. Ska in all its hyphenations show up here, often with a little traditional Quebecois touch. Granted, there are some weak songs here, but the novelty and some rare and unreleased tracks (including the Planet Smashers' "Too Much Attitude" transmorgified into "Attitude Exageree," Kingpin Lorraine going gender-bender on "Manon..." and Whole Lotta Milka singing en francais) are worth going out of your way. This CD has tons to offer fans in any language. It also offers an important glimpse into the lesser-known side of Canada's ska capital. (L'Empire Kerozen)