Despite all the rumors circulating about how this album was going to be “Keasbey Nights 2”, anyone who merely wrote Streetlight Manifesto off to that fact has no idea what they are missing. “Keasbey Nights” was my original all-time ska album, but “Everything Goes Numb” has dethroned it. This album isn’t just “Keasbey Nights 2”; it blows “Keasbey Nights” out of existence.
The song, “Everything Went Numb” has been in low bit rate mp3 form for quite a while, and the album doesn’t really kick off until the second song “That’ll Be the Day.” It has got some infectious horns that help dictate the speed, which is fast even for most song. The song has a very Catch 22 feel, which is no surprise considering three of the members have graduated from Catch 22. The song also features some fantastic drums that manage to keep the speed up throughout the song while also throwing in some little fancy tricks (the double bass towards the end being my personal favorite).
The following song “Point/Counterpoint” features some of the most ridiculously fast singing in existence. This song truly showcases Tomas’ vocal talents, as not only can he sing insanely fast, but he can also articulate every word insanely well. It also showcases his lyrics nicely, with one of the greatest choruses. “I’ve got a gun in my hand but the gun won’t cock/ my finger’s on the trigger but that trigger seems locked/ and I can’t stop staring at the tick tock clock/ and even if I could I would never give up/ with a vest on my chest and a bullet in my lung/I can’t believe I’m dying with this song unsung...” with more following at a blistering pace. The song is pure ska fun, good horns, creative bass lines, and guitars not taking a prominent stage (instead replaced by excellent backing vocals).
The song “A Moment of Silence” is a nice abrupt change from the standard frantic speed of the album. Although the song eventually speeds up, the beginning paints an incredibly vivid picture that just made me imagine the band playing in some smoky, run-down, lounge full of working class drunks. A lot of the horns get their own chance to shine separately in several solos throughout the song. Despite the fact that the overall speed of the song is 1/100 of the rest of the album, it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb, but rather is one of the shining tracks.
Throw in a nice little cover of “Here’s to Life” (the original is much better) and there is not a single song on this “Everything Goes Numb” that is worth skipping over. This album is one of the best to come out this year, and one of the (if not THE) best ska albums to come out in awhile. As sad as I was to see Tomas leave Catch 22, I think he has found a better calling in Streetlight Manifesto.