On a cold and miserable night in Harrow (it might have actually been summer but Harrow is always cold and miserable in my memories) I took a chance on putting on some ska band I’d never heard of before. I did this purely based on the fact their bass player was one of the best in the business and I’d thoroughly enjoyed his previous outings. To a crowd of a curious few and with a trumpet player who still needed sheet music (note names scribbled in felt tip on napkins), Just Say Nay took their first trembling steps into my life. I’ve since been able to skank along to a more polished expanded roster and remember wishing they had something around that I could listen to – now my wish has been granted. Enter the Shit Out of Luck EP.
Technically I’ve had a little experience with Shit Out Of Luck, having discovered the third track Bouncer on What Do You Know About Ska Punk Vol 1 but for the sake of procedure I’m going to start from the beginning.
‘Thinkers’ kicks off at breakneck speed, something I can appreciate very much, and within the space of around thirty seconds the track tell me a lot about the sound of the band. There’s someone skate punk in there, a ska interlude and then a quick pop punk-esque breakdown. Everything is laid out for me so that nothing that comes up is particularly jarring. Having set the tone we get treated to some real quality ska-skate-punk. ‘Tempted’ is slower paced and more of what I’d consider traditional ska-punk but is delivered with enough gravel and swagger to keep interest. It’s short, sweet and fun from start to finish. ‘Bouncer’, by virtue of the fact I’ve already heard it a good twenty times, is my favourite of the bunch. A super fun sing/skank-a-long that will have you jumping. ‘Low Blow’ gives me flashbacks of being extremely drunk down the New Cross Inn and shouting the chorus at the band in an overly tuneless and obnoxious manner. I think that’s a thing that really happened, but the reason it’s relevant is that I can definitely attest to it being a great song to have on while you’re with your mates having a great time.
The only thing that’s a little bit of a disappointment is the sound quality. This sounds like it was recorded in someone’s bedroom and for all I know it make have well been. Some songs don’t seem to end on time or are left a little too long and the whole thing lacks a lower which is a crying shame considering they boast one of the best ska bass players you’re likely to witness in a venue that isn’t charging you £60 to get into. So while it’s a great way to familiarise yourself with Just Say Nay and their catchy fun tunes it’s not something I’m gonna have on the stereo day to day.
So for the TL;DR crowd. A great fun EP that’s a little rough around the edges but an excellent listen. Especially if you’ve had the opportunity to see Just Say Nay live and need a little more of them in your life.
Stream and download Shit Of Of Luck here: https://justsaynay.bandcamp.com/album/shit-out-of-luck
Like Just Say Nay here: https://www.facebook.com/Jsnska
This review was written by Dan Peters.