Few rock bands in the Christian music market who formed in the 90's actually leave behind a legacy after calling it quits. Fortunately, Five Iron Frenzy is one such exception in the genre of ska. Though it was only their second project, FIF was already making waves in the ska scene by the time they released 1997's Our Newest Album Ever. Regardless of the fact that this album was not as wild and crazy as their previous 1996 effort Upbeats and Beatdowns, it still remains a worthwhile CD for any hardcore ska fan to add to their music collection.
The album kicks off with "Handbook for the Sellout," a rather melodic ska tune that unfortunately takes more than a couple of listens to really grasp the song's meaning. However, the next 2 tracks are pretty self-explanatory as "Where is Micah" is the band's ode to their lead guitar player Micah Ortega who always ends up being late for band shows and usually the last person to arrive back on the tour bus when leaving a concert venue. "Superpowers" basically describes life on the road for FIF with a humorous twist while maintaining a positive message towards the end with the lyrics 'I just want to share with you, how we got this peace and hope.' The band's humorous side continues with the interlude "Kitty Doggy" and "Blue Comb 78,"\ a song that describes Reese's earliest memory of his childhood (oddly enough, the first comb his parents ever bought for him).
The fun and uptempo tracks begin to slow down with the track "Second Season" but quickly picks up again with the raucous tune "Litmus." The band adds a final touch of humor with the track "Oh Canada," reciting lyrics such as 'I want to be where yaks can run free, where Royal Mounties can arrest me' and 'we forgot to mention something here, did we mention William Shatner is a native citizen.' Possibly the best highlight of the album is the closing tune "Every New Day," an uptempo ska-worship ballad that is a direct cry out to God. Even though Our Newest Album Ever isn't Five Iron Frenzy's best effort, it still accomplishes a lot for its genre. Regardless of the fact that Five Iron Frenzy will no longer be a band after November of this current year, their music will still remain in the hearts of ska fans all across the country.
- Review date: 10/5/03, written by Paul Portell
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