Let's Go Bowling - Freeway Lanes (Cover Artwork)

Let's Go Bowling

Let's Go Bowling: Freeway LanesFreeway Lanes (1998)
Asian Man Records

Reviewer Rating: 5

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

Here's an edited version of a review I put up for one of my favourite ska records of the '90s on Social Interview, a mercilessly crap facebook application. I hope it will convince some of you (or at the very least, the gimper) to buy this amazing record. Let's Go Bowling are one of the best ska b.
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Here's an edited version of a review I put up for one of my favourite ska records of the '90s on Social Interview, a mercilessly crap facebook application. I hope it will convince some of you (or at the very least, the gimper) to buy this amazing record.

Let's Go Bowling are one of the best ska bands ever. I get to say "are" because they have started playing together again, doing live shows around California. This is a great thing, because this album proves they are incredible as a live band.

Having already played trad ska and 2 Tone fused with rock'n'roll and much more since the '80s, around this point (the mid-to-late '90s) they dragged in more influences of dub and jazz, giving their instrumentals a loose, cool feel (their version of the Skatalites' "Man in the Street" got me into jazz). Very cool to listen to, it's also great to dance to. This is not a completely relaxed album, however. Some of the old songs from studio albums, as well as covers of other American ska and mod bands (like the Untouchables), and some new songs are instead delivered with high energy and swingin' style, as well as crazy humour ("Bitch" is a good example, and also has the best climax in musical history. Yeah, fuck classical).

So you dance madly to "Bitch" (there's a typical English phrase) and when it comes down from its insane high, we hear someone ask, "Where are the midgets? We need some midgets up here." Before you have a chance to say, "What the fuck?" a smooth piece of dubby ska-jazz called "The Reburial of Marcus Garvey" comes on, at odds with the previous track's frantic 2 tone, but still natural feeling and, of course, highly listenable.

The musicianship is excellent too. For example, Darren Fletcher handles insane, baseball stadium-style organ, smooth jazzy piano and raucous harmonica; and the horn section draw on Parker, Coltrane, Coleman and Davis for their variously swinging, cool, or abrasive soloing.

As a ska fan, I couldn't take this out of my CD player for ages (except to listen to it somewhere else), so obviously any ska fan will like this. Even though I like ska-punk, it's a goddamn shame they went that way. Although fortunately, only for a while.


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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.
Rastid (August 2, 2010)

late to the party, but whoever said dub 56 is 100% correct.

mephiskapheles, the aquabats, and less than jake were kings of the third wave, though, for sure.

but. you are all forgetting "heads are gonna roll" by the hippos. i would probably put that #2 after dub 56.

nedsammy (August 1, 2010)

believe me Cos, i'm fucking dreading that moment

facetofacereunion08 (July 29, 2010)

i love Let's Go Bowling...great to chill at the beach and listen to this or Music to Bowl By

Cos (July 29, 2010)

still waiting for Gimper to jump in and declare that RBF made the best ska album of the 90s.

fresnoska (July 29, 2010)

Out Of Nowhere came out in 93.

I don't know about the Toasters, maybe them rehashing the same album over and over after their Moon Ska output turned me off to them.

Best of the 90's (In my opinion)
Pietasters- OooLooLoo
Slackers- Better Late Than Never
LGB- Mr. Twist
Mephiskapheles- God Bless Satan
Bosstones- More Noise and other disturbances

nedsammy (July 29, 2010)

love the whole ska related arguments, it's quite refreshing to me as all my friends like metal, emo, or indie. The Slackers are the better band, and Slow Gherkin's Shed Some Skin is one of my favourite albums of all time, but i still love this record, plain and simple.

Skibz777 (July 28, 2010)

I second the magnificence of 'Dub 56', though I follow it closely with 'D.L.T.B.G.Y.D.', believe it or not. 'Hard Band for Dead' felt so lethargic.

I'd also like to throw in - in regard to the best of the '90s - The Adjusters' 'Before the Revolution', Isaac Green & The Skalars' 'Skoolin' with the Skalars', Slow Gherkin's 'Shed Some Skin' and The Siren Six!'s 'The Voice with the Built-In Promise' (only 'cuz Hepcat's 'Out of Nowhere' and the Kingpins' 'Plan of Action' miss the decade by a year). Now THOSE....those, superskabro, are all records I could pound out a 3000 word senior thesis on. And probably for 'Mr. Twist', too. My mind isn't working well enough right now to conceive a definitive opinion on the best ska record of the 1990s, but the odds are good it's on the Moon Ska label.

Cos (July 28, 2010)

You can go on and on about your favorite ska album if you want. I disagree. I was just offering up my opinion.

fresnoska (July 28, 2010)

As much as I LOVE the Slackers, I don't much enjoy their post Question output. Once they incorporated bluesy-folksy material, I began to lose interest. Live at Ernesto's does it for me everytime.

Banger (July 28, 2010)

Dub 56 is the inferior album precisely because of how much Coolie Ranx is on it. I also wasn't much of a Pilfers fan either, although that's also because I associate the formation of the Pilfers with Vinny Nobile leaving Bim Skala Bim, which began the decline of that band.

"With The Question, well, you proved my point. There's a few too many songs on there for no good reason."

So, me saying that one song out of nineteen was unnecessary (and not even that it was bad) proves your point? How, exactly? My point was that it's the longest album in their catalog, and just about every song is a classic. It has more great songs on it than Redlight (no surprise since it's 50% longer), but also a higher % of great songs on it as well. That makes it their best album in my book.

Come to think of it, as much as I love Redlight, it might be my least favorite Slackers album. But it's the one most people know, mainly because it was their first Hellcat release and it came out during the height of the ska revival. Maybe that's why it's the most overrated as well, the same way people overrate Less Than Jake's Losing Streak.

fresnoska (July 28, 2010)

How is this not ska? LGB are one of the definitive American ska bands, period.

oldpunkerforever (July 28, 2010)

one of the best ska bands ever??, get real, this shite is not ska and that comment is an insult to the real ska bands that are keeping the sound alive and fresh-oldpunker-

Cos (July 28, 2010)

NY Fever was good but not great. Dub 56 was the tightest, most focused, and best written of any Toasters album. It also catches Coolie Ranx at his prime. Hard Band for Dead is really just following the formula of Dub 56 (a few covers, a redo of an old Toasters song, Buck singing poorly) and its not nearly as good.

With The Question, well, you proved my point. There's a few too many songs on there for no good reason. Again, Redlight just works better as an album. The band is tight, the songs are great, and it leaves you wanting more.

superskabro (July 28, 2010)

duuuuuude! Skibz777 should do a 3000 word senior thesis of this record! oh wait... he has to get drunk first!

fresnoska (July 28, 2010)

My pick for best ska album of the 90's would have to be Ooolooloo by the Pietasters. I fuckin love that album, completely un-skipworthy

Banger (July 28, 2010)

Oh, and Dub 56 the best ska album of the 90s? It's not even the best Toasters album of the 90s (New York Fever and Hard Band for Dead were better).

mightybombjack (July 28, 2010)

you are all wrong. the best ska album of the 90s was mephiskapheles' masterpiece, god bless satan. no contest.

Banger (July 28, 2010)

Redlight better than The Question? Blasphemy. The Question is a great pick for best ska album of the 90s, 19 songs without a clinker in the bunch (though "The Question (Version)" was a bit unnecessary).

I liked Music to Bowl By, thought Mr. Twist was okay, kinda lost interest in Let's Go Bowling after that.

Skibz777 (July 28, 2010)

For what it is, 'Stay Tuned' isn't that bad.

fresnoska (July 27, 2010)

5 stars for the first two records, sure. For Stay Tuned.........I don't think so

Skibz777 (July 27, 2010)

I also think five stars is a bit too much for this particular album, though I've never been a big fan of live records to begin with. Five stars for LGB and their studio records, of course...I got to catch their most recent show in Los Angeles and hot DAMN they're still amazing. Why is there no more honest-to-goodness third wave music being played anymore? My skinny tie is starting to collect dust and that's just wrong. :(

Rastid (July 27, 2010)

oh man, i haven't listened to this cd in forever. what i great record. picked it up at the ska summit in vegas back in 2003 or whatever. so much fun.

fresnoska (July 27, 2010)

So nice to see the best thing to come out of Fresno on this website. This cd is great but they still need to be seen live rather than heard on disc (despite this being a live recording). They are still on top of their game live, though they only play about once a year.

cuffer (July 27, 2010)

Wow 5 stars, really? Out of all my ska cds I think I listened to this one the least. I always thought the singer completely sucked and the songs were boring. I don't know man there is waaaaaay better ska albums out there

Cos (July 27, 2010)

Both bands have done better (Redlight and Ooolooloo, respectively).

jimmy_the_saint (July 27, 2010)

Cos, the best ska album of the 90s was The Slackers' The Question followed by The Pietasters' Willis.

Cos (July 27, 2010)

Ah ha! Another decent ska album from the 90s to get an enitrely overrated score. Much better than their debut. A lot of the good stuff on here sounds like the band was listening to the first Specials album while writing it, which is A-OK with me. This is probably my favorite thing by the band, but after seeing them so many times after this came out, I kinda lost interest.

(in case you were wondering, the best ska album from the 90s is "Dub 56" by the Toasters)

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