The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - A Jackknife To A Swan (Cover Artwork)

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: A Jackknife To A SwanA Jackknife To A Swan (2002)
Side One Dummy Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: adamAdam
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I'm sick and tired of reading piss-poor reviews of ska albums in mainstream publications. Its not that I champion every ska band out there. If the shameful excess of the late 90s showed us anything, its that its incredibly easy to play bad ska music. What I see now, however, are the trend-jumpin.

I'm sick and tired of reading piss-poor reviews of ska albums in mainstream publications.

Its not that I champion every ska band out there. If the shameful excess of the late 90s showed us anything, its that its incredibly easy to play bad ska music. What I see now, however, are the trend-jumping scumbags in the mainstream taking flying leaps off the ska bandwagon and landing, rather ridiculously, on the windshield of the emo one. In their fervor to distance themselves from anything related the style, most reviews I've seen have been written rather begrudgingly, without insight, and quite often with blatant inaccuracies.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have been written off in this way. The All Music Guide said they sound like laid-back Smash Mouth. Alternative Press complained that Dicky Barrett whines too much (this from a magazine with Dashboard Confessional on the cover). Anyone who's taken an honest listen to "A Jackknife To A Swan" can dispute those claims.

It's a shame really, because "Jackknife" is the best album the Mighty Mighty Bosstones have released since "Question The Answers," if not better. Master showman Dicky Barrett plays the everyman here, his all too honest lyrics more effective then ever. Bassist Joe Gittleman, fresh off his sojourn with Avoid One Thing, is much more noticeable in his contributions to the band's songwriting. The horn section, with Chris Rhodes replacing Dennis Brockenborough, is energetic, crisp, and much far more active then on "Pay Attention." Now on independent label Side One Dummy after years of major label expectations, the production has been noticeably toned town to a level much better suiting the band's roots approach.

The results are simply phenomenal, as all the pieces seem to have fit perfectly this time around. From the driving punk rock of "Mr. Moran" to the urgent "I Want My City Back," this is the hardest the Bosstones have played in years. Yet at the same time, songs like "Everybody's Better" and "You're Chasing The Sun Away" sound like vintage two-tone. Few bands in this style could pull off "The Old School Off The Bright," which is one of the tightest songs the `Tones have written. Guitarist Lawrence Kats jumps seamlessly from street-punk choruses to skittering upstroke verses as the brass joyfully and confidently shouts along. Perhaps most surprising, but fitting seamlessly in with the band's style and attitude, is the acoustic and bluesy "Seven Ways To Sunday," complete with harmonica and gospel backing vocals. The 13 tracks go everywhere from hard-hitting, angry punk songs to rhythmic and joyful ska that would have Toots and the Maytals smiling in approval.

I'm overly positive, but then again I got into the punk scene in the early 90s through ska bands. I had no use for the heavy handed "grunge" the industry was pushing then, and I have no use for the heavy handed "emo" they're pushing now. It's in spirited albums like this that I truly enjoy music, and for that I can't thank the Bosstones enough.


People who liked this also liked:
Dead to Me - Cuban BallerinaOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Let's Face ItThe Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Question the AnswersAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Clash - London CallingNOFX - The DeclineBouncing Souls - The Gold Record

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 4, 2006)

old school of the bright!!

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

This album is there best and I won them all!

Anonymous (February 28, 2005)

AMEN to this.. truly awesome

Anonymous (October 30, 2002)

hehe, rightc-this album rocks hard and its not even their best work by far. i'd go get "don't know how to party" next as a lot of hardcore bosstones fans consider that one their best.

adam (September 26, 2002)

RightC: Give Rancid's new album another listen or two. That album has to be on of my top 5 releases in the last 2-3 years. If you're not at all inclined to harder stuff then I wouldn't bother though...

RightCliqificus (September 4, 2002)

Oddly, I've never heard any bosstones songs other than "the impression that i get" (on cd anyway), but I saw them play live at the Gorge in WA and it was a cool show and a few weeks ago, I just randomly went to the store and bought this CD for no reason at all. I listened to it for about a weeks straight. I've never liked ska before, but this is one of the freshest sounding CDs I've heard in a while. If the other Bosstones records are as good as this, I'm getting them all. They rock good, plus they play some of the more slow/melodic stuff pretty good too. Personally, my favorite songs are the rockers, but I like punk better anyway. Lately, since I've had a job, I've been randomly buying CDs of bands that other people like, just to broaden my horizons. This so far is the best of those spontaneous decisions to buy stuff I've never heard. I also bought the Nofx/Rancid split, which is mediocre at best. I bought NUFAN's Live in a dive CD (I've never heard them before thise) and it sounds like saves the day or any other pop band for most of it, with the execption of a few really excellent songs lik STRAIGHT FROM THE JACKET and ON THE OUTSIDE. I also purchased Rancid's last album (the self titled one), which lacks any musical talent altogether and is annoying in 27 different ways. I also purchased the new Mudhoney CD (a band I USED to love) and it was quite a letdown. Anyway, the Bosstones rock.

ltjskank324 (August 20, 2002)

im goin to less than jake tomorrow with mutha fuckin yellowcard and yeah sugarcult is gay. and about how long did the sho u went to last ? oh yeh sry for the harsh words i just wanted to inform on the real meaning

Anonymous (August 8, 2002)

sugarcult are no good period.

cawknocker (August 7, 2002)

oh sorry ltjskank. but i hate being wrong so eat my balls. by the way i just saw ltj on saturday. they kick ass.so do the pietasers and bigwig. sugarcult are no good live. no good at all.

Fuzzy (August 6, 2002)

Boston Ska in EVERY fucking year.

and 737, almost every day.

ltjskank324 (August 6, 2002)

ur a fuckin retard kawknocker... it means when the guy jumps into the subway he goes from a jacknife (dive) to a swan(dive). joe gittleman himself said it on an aol music sessions interview so THERE! this album kicks ass its there best yet...

Anonymous (August 6, 2002)

get this album because its pretty good. bosstones disappointed me with pay attention but they come right back, stronger than ever.

cawknocker (August 6, 2002)

ITS THE title of the first track, a jacknife being death, or in the song, a subway, the swan being a beutiful person or friends life, in the song its about the dude who gets hit by the subway/jacknife. i think its a neat title dudes. word to your mutha!

Anonymous (August 6, 2002)

does anyone else besides me think this is a really weird name for an album? is it some reference i just don't get?

Anonymous (August 5, 2002)

That's because in 97-98 Ska was "cool." I still think it's badass and I saw the Bosstones on friday...they kicked alot of ass at that damn orlando speedworld. god that was the worst place ever for a warped tour.

Anonymous (August 5, 2002)

I'm glad you clarified on the AP situation ... if all you younguns can remember back to 97-98, AP voted the Bosstones Act of the Year with multiple covers and everything.

Anonymous (August 5, 2002)

nate wasn't great, katz rocks the ax. greatest punk album of the year. thats why they are the kings of ska. now get off me

Anonymous (August 5, 2002)

This cd is simply amazing. That is all there is to it. Who would have though my 2 favorite cd's of the year would be ska. MMBT and Big D and the Kids Table's new EP... holy shit! Boston Ska in 2002!-pat41

Anonymous (August 5, 2002)

Great CD! It's weird; the Bosstones are the only ska band that I actually enjoy listening to.

CallingLondon (August 5, 2002)

i like Mr. Moran musically and lyrically. the lyrics are clever and kinda funny. great cd. just because they're playing ska doesn't mean they're "beating a dead horse". It's a musical genre, and they're just writing the album in that style. it's no more beating a dead horse than a new punk album.

Anonymous (August 5, 2002)

this album barely deserves a 6 for what it does, which is absolutely nothing new. granted it may be fun to listen to but these guys are just beating a dead horse. There are bands like The Liars and Racebannon that are contenders for album of the year not the third rate hacks of MMB.

Anonymous (August 4, 2002)

I honestly think that Pay Attention was the best bosstones album. And Katz is an extremely borring guitar player, I really miss nate. Other than that it was a good cd. But their worst in years. ON par with "don't Know how to party"

Anonymous (August 4, 2002)

GREATEST SKA CD OF THE YEAR!!! I would make the score an 11 in true Spinal Tap fashion but oh well...but if there's 2 people i hate, it's the guy who let Spy Kids 2 become possible and the jerk off who said "Laid-back Smashmouth"...he should be stuck by lighting while being run over by a car being run over by a train being run over by a plane. Catch my drift? www.njdirtylarry.com

Anonymous (August 4, 2002)

ahhh i can't stop talking abouthtis cd. the best since question the answers def., adn , w/o a doubt, better than pay attention. i put it second overall. amazing variety. slow ska, to punk driven. i could do w/o the lyrics to mr. moran and i think the last track is a bonus track. i end the cd after shit outta luck. but its so amazing. one of hte few new albums that if i saw them live and they played half their set from it i wouldnt complain. sugar free, u gotta go, everbody's better, old school are some of the best songs they've ever written. amazingly fresh for a 7th album...or 8th i forget

Anonymous (August 4, 2002)

great album. best band on earth. I just saw em two days in a row (columbus and cincy warped). I am heading up to boston to see them as well... This CD is probably one of their best. And the new stuff sounds SO GOOD live.

adam (August 4, 2002)

Yeah AP's honestly wasnt that bad, it just amused me that they'd have the gall to say a band was "whining" when they have Dashboard and Thursday on the cover... Gimme a break...

All Music Guide's review (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=A2uqpg40ptvnz) is utter crap though. I usually give them the benefit of the doubt since they're a HUGE informative database and must have to review a ton of stuff to keep up to date... but I can't even understand where they drew their conclusions from...

Anonymous (August 4, 2002)

alternative press actually gave the cd a fairly positive review, with an 8 out of 10 score. in all honesty, every review i've read has been positive for the cd except for one in Maxim, which isn't a music mag in the first place. the Bosstones made the punk rock album of the year, nobody can beat them.

Anonymous (August 4, 2002)

yeah man...props on the review..good shit...I love this new CD. I can't wait for the bosstones to do a club tour....they set off such a fucking cool vibe when they play in a smaller place then the warped tour...alot of the people at the warped tour hate ska, so they automatically hate the bosstones. The bosstones are ska...but they are good music...so who gives a shit if it is ska...its good stuff

Anonymous (August 4, 2002)

Dude, I salute you for writing the best review I've ever seen on this site

waste_elite (August 4, 2002)

laid-back Smash Mouth? what the hell?

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