Lightyear - Chris Gentleman's Hairdresser (Cover Artwork)


Chris Gentleman's Hairdresser (2003)

Household Name

For some reason or other, ska gets the most criticism out of all the different forms of punk. Some reasons include that it's too chirpy and the relentless brass becomes grating after a while, or that all ska bands pretty much sound the same. Well this isn't necessarily true (Less Than Jake sound nothing like Voodoo Glow Skulls but both are classed as ska), and this album from now defunct Derby seven-peice Lightyear is one of the most diverse and consistently interesting ska albums you will ever hear.

Kicking off with "Twat Out Of Hell", which is a dig at George W, they squeeze about four different genres into almost three minutes with an anthemic chorus and funny, if somewhat juvenile lyrics such as "let's chop his balls off and make a pie, and over dinner we'll ask him why innocent people die" which are pretty much what Lightyear were all about. Over the course of these 11 songs the band range from pure ska on "Nuff Cuts", to a parody of the emo trend on "That's The Way It Goes, Big Nose" and also include scratching and rapping on "Trumpet Trousers" without sounding anything like Linkin Park. Their lyrics span a wide range of subjects, including a struggle to make ends meet ("...Cinnamon Rolls"), the pressures of constantly touring (the superb closer "200 Kebab Shops") and also the occasional political insight and they feature many pop-culture references which will mostly be familiar to British people but they are pretty hilarious.

I guess you could say they were intrinsically a skacore band but their invention and ideas rise them above the likes of Big D and the Kids Table or Mad Caddies (who are both great bands) in my estimation. They have since gone their seperate ways, which is a huge blow to the UK punk scene, but this was a terrific way to bow out. Those that have not yet heard them but have even a passing interest in ska should definitely try to check them out because you wouldn't regret it.