If you went to Level Up Festival at the New Cross Inn last July then you’ll have a hard time denying that 2018 was the year for ska punk. I certainly saw and listened to a lot more ska bands than in previous years and that was the case for the whole year, not just the summer. One of my favourite ska punk discoveries of the year was the Leicester-based foursome Last Edition, who played the festival as well as returning to London later in the year. They were a discovery for me in 2018 but they actually recently celebrated being a band for a decade and so are not particularly new to the scene. At the end of December Last Edition released ‘10 Years’, a five track EP to celebrate, you guessed it, their tenth birthday. I had a listen.
First up is the title track, 10 Years. The song welcomes us wonderfully to the EP with a vibrant saxophone melody which is a key part of Last Edition’s sound – and a big reason why I love them so much. It’s a fun and catchy tune about not having changed after ten years – as in, in a good way. There is a feeling of knowing that, despite whatever mistakes may have been made over the past decade, given the chance you wouldn’t change a thing. Blame It On The Beer kicks off with some oh-so-skankable guitar upstrokes, before the infectious sax line comes in and gets lodged in your head for all eternity. This is a fairly mid-tempo tune that reflects on how we can sometimes use alcohol as an excuse for poor behaviour. Blame It On The Beer also features a guest appearance from Joshua Barron of Scottish ska punks The Hostiles who sings one of the verses.
The third song on 10 Years is Skank Only and it makes you want to do just that – skank. This funky little instrumental number first appeared on Last Edition’s 2016 album Best Foot Forward but I for one have no problem with it being included on this release. I do love an instrumental ska song, it’s much more fun than any other instrumental. This Way begins with some pounding drums and a speedy walking bassline, instantly giving the track more of a punk rock feel than previous songs. It’s great to hear variety in the Last Edition sound, alongside those snappy sax melodies. This is also reflected in the second verse when Sam takes over singing duties from usual vocalist Matty. Bringing the EP to a close is another song that first featured on Best Foot Forward, the live set favourite If Ska Ruled The World. This song has everything you could wish for in ska punk with its infectious melodies that will get stuck in your head for days on end and its not entirely serious lyrics that will also get stuck in your head for days on end. This tune will get you dancing like never before while you sing along with the biggest smile on your face. I don’t doubt that if ska did rule the world it would be a better place for it.
I may have been nine years late to the Last Edition party but I’m definitely here to stay now! You can buy 10 Years here (and stream it on Spotify too). Be sure to like Last Edition on Facebook to find out when you can next see them live.
This review was written by Emma Prew.