The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Medium Rare
Record Label: Big Rig Records
Release Date: December 18, 2007
The Bostonian ace-flyers of ska music have returned after a four year hiatus. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones dwell in the thick of ska with their latest release Medium Rare, which is produced by the band’s bass player Joe Gittleman. Also found in the mix are Dicky Barrett on lead vocals, Ben Carr on background vocals, Joe Sirois on drums, Tim Burton and Roman Fleysher on saxophone, Chris Rhodes on trombone, and Lawrence Katz on guitar. Medium Rare’s content is a flirtatious jazz-punk breed that shares qualities with the likes of the Mad Caddies and Buck-O-Nine and cushions Barrett’s vocals with spongy harmonies that have everyone bouncing off of each other like in a pit of bumper cars. The members show no hesitation in stepping up to the platform and laying it down with everything they got. The Bosstones have acquired a loyal following that will eat up Medium Rare’s ska rantings readily, and for anyone outside of that block, they’ll find the band’s mating of jazz with punk to be a desirable match.
The album leads off with a crib of pub rock guitar zippings and choral chanteys in “This List” and “The Meaning.” The mash-ups are so fiercely cycloned that they rile up emotions and will probably cause you to crack the floorboards beneath your feet from stomping so heartily to the chaining beats. The reggae-sloshing in the ska factions of “Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker” stout lively echoes from the horns channeling through the melody, and the marching gait of “To California” has an adolescent spring. The stocky jumps of “So Many Ways” move with a melodic motion to the trickling horns, and the upbeat gusto of “This Time of Year” is delightfully melded forming some pucking action between the vocals, horns, and rhythm sections. Spoonfuls of reggae cordials are poured over “Chocolate Pudding” and “Favorite Records,” and the flowery horns of “Is It” are masterfully spooled.
Medium Rare is a sample of how east coasters play ska music. It has more seedlings of pop/rock than the usual array of SoCal sunshine-pop and beach party punk that comes into play with ska sonomas. The album honors ska music’s potency, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones show they know what to do with it. It is like turning to a master masseuse who knows how to alleviate tension and any nagging knotted tightness. Medium Rare lets loose and sustains a level of sheer happiness that has become synonymous with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.