In a world of music filled with artists afraid to take risks, and a scene where so many individuals chain themselves down and fail to break new ground, a breath of fresh air would undoubtedly be exhilarating. However, in the case of Frank and his Skunk Allstars, the barriers seperating genres are shattered, a musical masterpiece is created, and the expectations for a follow-up release have skyrocketed. Frank Liesener, an ambitious, multi-talented musician out of Germany, has once again joined forces with a stunning cast of associates, whom he has dubbed his "allstars", to create Hatred of a Minute, one of the most brilliant releases my ears have ever experienced. With the help of musicians ranging from various backgrounds (culturally and musically) spread across the globe, Frank has once more outdone his impressive catalogue and taken his sound to a whole new level, incorporating the deepest elements of love, creativity, and sheer passion.
After only a single listen of Hatred of a Minute in its entirety, any tourist will ask themselves the same burning question: what more could any listener possibly ask for? From the records opening track, to the final notes of the powerhouse closer, Hatred of a Minute is a roller-coaster ride of beauty, excitement, and a mesmerizing journey through the world of music. Incorporating elements of reggae, hip-hop, punk rock, swing, and rocksteady into his signature ska sound, Frank Liesner (with the help of over 50 musicians worldwide) has taken any stereotypical qualities of ska music, as a whole, and buried them miles beneath himself. The opening track, "Blur From Clear", a reggae-tinged ska anthem, is an accurate representation of the albums overall output, but with so much to offer in terms of originality and diversity, it's significantly more than just a challenge to summarize the record in a mere, single track. Additional highlights found throughout the course of Hatred's running time include the hip-hop based "Rusty Coins", the swing driven "Good Enough" (which features the inclusion of a full orchestra), and the bouncy ska gem "Lose Ya Voice", a track worthy of none but pure, utmost admiration.
However, the real beauty behind Hatred of a Minute can be found in Liesener's awe-inspiring lyrics, as he literally warps the listener into his mindset and transforms ones views into something angelic. The album deals with meaningful, and now often forgotten topics of discussion including racism found at every corner, the loss of those close to you, and brighter beginnings, all bound together with an underlying message of unity, and a view of society that has never been more admirable. Frank is more than consistent in his views as he bellows them through his lyrics, and manages to never contradict himself, creating an outlook for listeners that is practically impossible not to conform to. While the record begs listeners to concoct their own judgement, and live their lives by doing anything but following the world around them in its current state, the positivity is so compelling that it proves quite a task to not follow-suit.
But, while lyrics can only hold so much power in an industry where output means the world, how does the music compare? Luckily for Frank and his Skunk Allstars, the instrumentation here, along with the consistent signs of authentic talent, is simply divine. Simply put, the music on Hatred of a Minute is so diverse, and even moreso innovative, that one could not begin to describe the feeling they are left with. The range of instruments found from track to track is remarkable, as is the talent of those behind the performance of each and every one. Featuring everything from driving horn arrangements, to alluringly developed guitar harmonies, to sensational steel drum, organ, and piano melodies, the album serves up a little something for everything, and proves to be release which will face no real challenge to listeners and critics alike who discover themselves standing before it.
It's safe to say that Frank Liesner, as both a musician and a citizen, is worthy of any praise one might shower him with, and that Hatred of a Minute is an album with the ability to shine. With the right promotion and the right people in charge, this Minute could easily become one any music fan will remember years down the line, and such a feat would successfully do anything but prove to surprise me. This is the album music has been waiting for, diehard listeners have been craving, and critics have been anxiously waiting to rave upon. Hatred of a Minute is deserving of the term an "instant classic", and it would be more than just a simple to shame to see this one go unnoticed.
You have no idea as to the kind of feelings I have towards this album. I've had the mp3's for almost a whole year now, and this album is just hitting stores in a month or so. In that time, I've probably spun this record about 100+ times in its entirety, and every single time I find myself even more amazed than the last. There's 18 tracks, and I never skip a single one. The artwork throughout the entire packaging is amazing. The lyrics have a message that makes it that much more meaningful than it would've been otherwise. And, in addition to all that, the music throughout each song is stunning. There's handfuls and handfuls of instruments on this album, all blended ot create this incredible ska sound, and each instrument is performed magnificently. You can call me biased, but I don't think so. Take a listen to some songs and give it a chance - that's what I did, and I've never been more satisfied.