After a handful of EPs and song releases, New Jersey ska punkers the Backyard Superheroes are picking up the scene once again with their second full-length album “Never Give Up, Never Surrender!”.
What I love about the Backyard Superheroes is that they’re not shy about hiding their love of ska punk music or their geeky comic book and video game influences. “Never Give Up, Never Surrender!” finds the band a few years older and wiser in regards to their musical craftsmanship. The band has gotten much better in regards to sound production as one of my dislikes of their first album was how low the sound quality was. With the release of the aforementioned EPs and random songs, they’ve had practice at making things sound exactly how they want them to.
Enough about the technical mumbo jumbo…it’s time to talk about the ska! The Backyard Superheroes have always reminded me of the best things about the third wave of ska. Their energy, light-hearted happy-go-lucky approach to their songs, their songwriting and their always-catchy-as-hell horn section combined with a little bit of snotty, snarky punk attitude and self-deprecating humor wrap all of those things up in a nice little third-wave influenced package that even the rudest of rude boys (and girls) will enjoy.
With the exception of a couple of re-recorded versions of previous songs (“Netflix and Chill” and “Tangerine Drive”), “Never Give Up, Never Surrender!” hits you with thirteen new songs that will get your feet a-movin’ and your arms a-swingin’. From start to finish the tracks are catchy and infectious as they cover a wide variety of topics ranging from relationships and heartbreaks to going to shows and comic books.
On the topic of comic books, the track “What If”? manages to combine three of my favorite things into one awesome tale straight from the funny pages. First of all the song title alludes to the alternate reality Marvel Comics title of the same name. #1=comic books. Secondly, the Backyard Superheroes are bringing the ska into a tale of nerdy goodness about if life were more like the comics. #2=ska. And last but not least they manage to bring in nerdcore aficionado MC Lars for a lyrical cameo! #3=MC Lars!
“Never Give Up, Never Surrender!” finds the Backyard Superheroes growing into one of the flag-bearers of the ska scene. They’ve found their sound and their audience and, with each release, continue to grow into one of best bands within the scene. You cannot listen to this album and not have a blast…unless you hate ska…and then who really cares what you think anyway?
Bottom Line: A catchy, infectious and totally non-stop skankable listen from these lads and lasses from the Garden State. Who says the third wave is dead?
Notable Tracks: Last Chance, I Just Wanna Rock, Netflix and Chill, Tangerine Drive, What If?, She’s Gotta Go