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The Planet Smashers - The Planet Smashers (Cover Artwork)

The Planet Smashers

The Planet Smashers: The Planet SmashersThe Planet Smashers (1995)
Ska and Reggae

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: Roces9Roces9
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Planet Smashers strike an amazing balance between classicism and innovation on their debut album, juggling all of the quintessential elements of punk-ska without feeling boring or derivative. Founded in Montreal in 1994, they released the self-titled record two years later on their own Stomp lab.
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The Planet Smashers strike an amazing balance between classicism and innovation on their debut album, juggling all of the quintessential elements of punk-ska without feeling boring or derivative. Founded in Montreal in 1994, they released the self-titled record two years later on their own Stomp label. Over the years they managed to stay independent and build a modest following but failed to really break out. They've released five more full-lengths since then but have failed to keep the magic they had on The Planet Smashers.

This album has everything you would find in the textbook definition of "third wave punk-ska": clean horn riffs, gritty vocals, jaded and sarcastic humor and the occasional punk attack all blend together here in perfect ska fashion. But the most amazing thing about this album is that it doesn't overplay any of the single elements and their sound manages to stay fresh and interesting. The horn riffs are clean and punctuating but not poppy and bubblegum. High tempos and punk breakdowns keep the energy up without venturing into metal territory. Smart, sarcastic and totally jaded lyrics add a remarkable sense of humor without getting wacky, zany or just plain silly like some bands (*cough* Aquabats *cough*). Songs poke fun at everything from relationships and job interviews to mainstream and alternative culture but never seem preachy or high-handed. Simply put, everything on The Planet Smashers comes together and it all works.

Some may label the Planet Smashers as unoriginal, but it is anything but. True, the Planet Smashers do stand on the shoulders of giants, but they infuse their own sound into everything they borrow, keeping this album fresh and exciting all the way through.

Bottom line: everything on The Planet Smashers -- the horns, the vocals and especially the smart and observant lyrics -- come together in exactly the way you'd expect to create one of the better third wave albums ever released.

[Originally reviewed at Man vs Ape]

 

 
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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.
roces9 (March 30, 2009)

If I may for a moment, I would like to defend usage of the "third wave punk ska" label (even if I managed to use no hyphens in that at all).

I realize that "third-wave" and "punk-ska" are different. The Scofflaws are "third-wave" but in no way punk, and many would argue that The Specials are "punk-ska" but they are clearly "second-wave" or "two-tone".

So by classifying The Planet Smashers as a "third wave punk ska", I only ment to denote that they belong to a subset of 90s third-wave revival bands that happened to blend ska with 90s punk.

I try to not use the terms interchangably, but I am only human and appologize if I happened to muddle the precision of these labels... and please don't flame me for "labeling" music

manincognito (February 13, 2009)

love this album..just listening to it the other day (as with all the other 5) to get pumped for their concert with the creepshow! check it out, as well as the rest of their material. best songs on the album (while tough to choose) are mission aborted, so happy, pierce me, pee in the elevator, meal of meat! enjoy!!!

Skibz777 (February 12, 2009)

Am I the only one who gets peeved when people consider the terms "third wave" and "ska-punk" interchangeable? I mean, the author throws out the word "third wave punk ska", which to me, would mean that there have been three separate eras and evolutions of 'punk ska'.

Maybe I'm just being overly nitpicky, but shouldn't there be terms that are able to differentiate between bands such as The Toasters and Hepcat, who have no punk influence, to bands like Reel Big Fish and Voodoo Glow Skulls who do? Or perhaps 'third wave' is descriptive purely of the *era* of American ska, and 'ska punk' is merely a subgenre of said time period?

warmchords (February 11, 2009)

a long time ago I was in a car accident, and the planet smashers were playing. i make a point of avoiding them because they make me think about it, which is too bad I guess because they were fun

ejaculine (February 11, 2009)

Amazing record. First ska record I ever bought. I bought it with the All-Skanadian Club compilation back in 95 at the Mosh For Mutts festival in Ottawa. The Smashers were playing and we were all wondering what the hell this music was. After the set I was so impressed that I bought the cd. I love this band. All their albums are amazing.

Sliced-T (February 11, 2009)

I remember really disliking this band back in the day.

soundforlanguage (February 11, 2009)

Top 5 third wave ska records:

1.)17 reasons
2.)Willis
3.)Halfway between here and there (I like it)
4.)The band geek mafia
5.)Energy

Medley (February 11, 2009)

The first four tracks are absolutely perfect. All of the Smashers' albums are a mix of good and bad but put together their best songs and you'd have a really great, fun 3rd wave ska record.

Banger (February 11, 2009)

This is one of the better albums to come out during the heyday of the "third wave" of ska.

"Pee In The Elevator" is the greatest song about pee in the elevator ever.

I too saw them with the Aquabats a few years back, at a sweltering show at the Knitting Factory. They were a lot of fun.

pricey123 (February 11, 2009)

dont like this album much but everything after is great. Blind is probably their best track. score for that song

Skibz777 (February 11, 2009)

I enjoy the Planet Smashers...one of the finer 90s ska bands that weren't compelled to adhere to the commercially-friendly "pop-punk-with-horns" formula. 'No Self Control' and 'Life of the Party' are two solid albums, and 'Attack of the Planet Smashers' is a quaint piece of pre-'97 indie ska history.

Their self-titled, however, never seems to rise above "mediocre": the production is poor, the ska is generic, and the songs are mostly forgettable, save for 'Mission Aborted' and the undeniably catchy yet empty 'Manta Ray Dance'. There were far, far better indie ska albums made during this era, but there were also far, far worse.

allon (February 10, 2009)

oh the planet smashers =] i wish the only way to see them wasn't having to drive to canada

punk_rawk_show (February 10, 2009)

One of the few third wave bands i never really listened to but have had their disography for a while

Listening to this album now

SuperRad (February 10, 2009)

I saw these guys open for The Aquabats a few years back. I remember them being pretty good. Score is for the fun I had at that show.

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