Record Label: Self-Released
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Backyard Superheroes are a 28-piece ska and pop punk influence band hailing from the Garden State. Well, they may not actually have 28 band members but it sure does sound like it as they have a ska punk sound that harkens back to the early 90s ala Skif Dank, early Less Than Jake or Sucka Punch.
Upon first listen, I thought that I had mistakenly started playing one of my old “Hey Brother, Can You Spare Some Ska?” compilations. Not to say their sound is dated, but the Backyard Superheroes are a throwback to the early days of ska punk when bands didn’t give a damn about signing to a major label and just played the fastest, craziest ska punk that they could. The shows were batshit insane, the attendees didn’t care if a ska punk band was playing with an indie rock band or a traditional ska band. I can imagine that this is exactly what a Backyard Superheroes show would be like. But enough of the reminiscing…on to more review-y stuff!
To keep with the theme of today’s reviews, I feel that the overall sound levels on this album are very low causing the entire album to sound muffled like it was recorded in a tin can. At a higher volume, everything else seems to be leveled in regards to vocals, horns, rhythm section, etc. This doesn’t bother me that much, as most young bands seem to struggle with production values at first, but there is definitely room for improvement.
As I mentioned before, I like that the Backyard Superheroes have the sounds of an early third-wave band and they also manage to procure some fun, goofy and unique songs. “Pop Punk Fairy Tale” is insanely fun and goofy and the faux female vocals make me laugh every time, it’s always a good time when you have a ska song about zombies and it is aptly names “Zombies” and “Slackin’ Off” sounds like a lost track from Skif Dank.
From start to finish, I enjoyed listening to the Backyard Superheroes. As a reviewer, I don’t come across many younger bands that wholeheartedly represent third wave ska punk and, while there may be a hint of nostalgia there for me, the Backyard Superheroes were obviously influenced by bands of that era as well as the ska punk veterans that are still out there pushing those sounds, and it’s never a bad thing to discover new ska punk bands and the Backyard Superheroes will hopefully do the scene justice for quite some time.
Bottom Line: With a sound straight out of 1994, this self-titled release is a breath of fresh air in the ever-dwindling third wave ska punk scene. Very reminiscent of early Less Than Jake, Skif Dank and Asian Man Records bands.
Notable Tracks: Slackin’ Off, Zombies, Pop Punk Fairy Tale, Living Hell, Nothing Left To Lose