Bruce Lee Band - Community Support Group [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bruce Lee Band

Community Support Group [EP] (2014)

Really Records

And out of the blue, a new Bruce Lee Band ep appears. Frontman Mike Park has utilized the David Bowie method for his band, backing himself with the musicians-du-jour. This time he supplements his vocals with contributions from Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb the Music Industry!, Mike Huguenor of Hard Girls, and Kevin Higuchi of Whisky Avengers. Park knows how to draft ‘em and the investment pays off on Community Support Group.

As is the usual Bruce Lee Band style, across the five tracks, the band explores various sub-genres of (mostly) third-wave ska. "Agh!!!" has a hard, but thin, guitar line and a driving drum that almost throws the song off the rails, coming deliciously lose to hardcore-speed-ska of Operation Ivy. "Diana" bears the unmistakable touch of Rosenstock with fluttering, starry guitars before shifting into the archetype of third-wave, Warped tour ska- though it's tinted with Rosenstock's pervasive hint of melancholy around the edges. With its loopy, grooving bass line, "We've got the money" is nearly reggae, and fittingly, comments on race relations- Specifically, the use of the Washington Redskins mascot.

Community Support Group could have collapsed into depressing, nostalgia. But, instead, it's a fiery, fun, intelligent collection of songs that storms from track to track, giving an overview of what ska was, but coating it with a modern sheen. For sometime, third wave ska has been tainted with 90's nostalgia. But here, the songs are tight and raucous, and the contributors are clearly having a blast. If anything, it's releases like this that elevate third wave ska from being a product of the 90's to being timeless.

Highly recommended.

Note: A little birdy (that looked exactly like a giant Asian guy named Mike) told me that a full length is on the way. Oh boy!