Eleven studio albums in and The Mighty Mighty BossToneS are still demonstrating that they know how to deliver a supreme album, one that contributes to the legacy of the ska-punk genre they helped pioneer. When God Was Great feels so much like a nostalgia trip back to the very roots of ska-punk with frontman Dicky Barrett utilizing his diction skills to vocalize tales of the past.
Opening with “Decide,” the song captures the very essence of ska-punk! From the very first note, it is an extremely skankable tune that commands the listener to dance to the distinct movements that is skanking whilst Barrett’s lyrics encourage taking a positive decision when faced with a negative situation. “M O V E” makes great use of the band’s horn section and ability to harmonize their vocals. As the song’s title suggests, the tune is all about getting together and moving to the music.
“Bruised” is a wistful look back on the joys of the mosh pit, but it also explores the very core of the unity that comes along with it. To an outsider, the mosh pit can look to be a scary, violent place which is, partially, true, but for those taking part, the sense of belonging is second to none, even if you do emerge with a few bruises. One of the crowning achievements of this record though has to be the ska/reggae-inspired “Lonely Boy.” The song is a tribute to the styles of music created in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica. Barrett tells the tale of a chance meeting on a trip to Kingston on the weekend. A love song to end loneliness for the story’s protagonist.
The closing track, “The Final Parade,” is an 8-minute dedication to the history of ska-punk and features a laundry list of heavyweights from the world of punk including the likes of The Interrupters’ Aimee Interrupter, Laila Khan of Sonic Boom Six, Tim Armstrong of both Rancid and Transplants’ fame and Goldfingers’ John Feldmann just to name a few. The tune is a truly feel-good stroke of genius that represents the core of what the ska-punk genre means to people. It is more of a movement than just a style of music.
This is a fantastic record that is catchy and fun. Although it lacks any songs that will become staples of any of the BossToneS shows such as “The Impression That I Get” or “You Gotta Go!,” it actually doesn’t need them as this release feels like it was made to pay tribute to ska-punk, its lifestyle and its roots, and not for commercial gain. Still, it doesn’t hurt at all that, overall, the recording is an absolute joy to listen to!
When God Was Great Track Listing:
2. M O V E
3. I Don’t Believe in Anything
4. Certain Things
6. Lonely Boy
7. The Killing of Georgie (Part III)
8. You Had to be There
9. When God Was Great
10. What it Takes
11. Long as I Can See the Light
12. The Truth Hurts
13. It Went Well
14. I Don’t Want to be You
15. The Final Parade
Run Time: 58:32
Release Date: May 7, 2021
Record Label: Hellcat Records