Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Album Review: Jazzy Jeff's Party UFO Visits Uranus by Alien8

Alien8 are a three piece skate punk band from Middlesbrough in the North of England. The band features James Harrison on vocals and guitar alongside brothers Alex Keane on drums and Jamie Keane on bass. The trio formed in 2015 and are influenced by 90s skate punk bands such as Lagwagon, NOFX, No Use For A Name, The Vandals and Snuff as well as more current bands like Teenage Bottlerocket and Wonk Unit. This past April the band released their second EP titled Jazzy Jeff's Party UFO Visits Uranus on Nil By Mouth Records. I feel like this could be a fun one.

The EP begins with the song Crazy. In a true punk rock fashion, little time is spent on any form of introduction and Alien8 launch straight into the song. My first thought was on how 'English' it sounded. Despite a big portion of the bands listed as their influences being American, Alien8 have stuck to their roots and don't sing in a faux American accent. Something I always appreciate. Crazy is a fast paced track with plenty of hooks and melodies that starts the EP in a big way. This is a fantastic introduction to Alien8. After a big drum roll the second song, Wanky Daze, quickly reminds me of Pennywise. It's that harder side of skate punk that the legendary Californian band are so well known for. Alien8 play with a lot of spirit and energy on the track which is about everything going wrong and not knowing why. No Religion sees Alien8 add a bit more ferocity to the EP. The opening of the song is played at an epic speed, injecting more energy into an already energetic release. I enjoyed the switch between fast and hard punk rock for the verses to a more melodic approach for the chorus. Adding the melodic element gives the listener an opportunity to breath and also adds a hook for them to catch on to.

The Power is a thirteen second song that simply says "take me to the pub" (I think anyway, it's played so fast!) a few times. There's not much more to say about it than that. Track five is called New Song #1 <3. Here the band go down more of a ska route. This is always okay by me! The ska element actually makes it my favourite song on Jazzy Jeff's Party UFO Visits Uranus. The upstrokes of the guitar have me wanting to dance instantly and when things turn more "punky" for the chorus and we get some gang vocals every part of me wants to shout along (well mostly my tongue and mouth, my feet don't want to sing). The penultimate track, Jazzy Jeff, is another short one at just twenty-one seconds long. It is a fast song about not being okay and throwing up. Yup, that's it. Last up is Bass Fast Bass. You might have guessed that on this song Jamie's bass plays a prominent role as he plays it really fast! This is a proper piece of 90s skate punk that would fit so nicely onto any Punk-O-Rama or Fat Wreck Chords compilation from back in the day. This is a bit of a throwback style now so it's nice to hear bands still playing fast skate punk and doing it so well.

Stream and download Jazzy Jeff's Party UFO Visits Uranus here: https://alien8band.bandcamp.com/album/jazzy-jeffs-party-ufo-visits-uranus-2

Like Alien8 here: https://www.facebook.com/JazzyJeffsAlien8/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

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