Okploïde - Miseria Espectacular (Cover Artwork)


Miseria Espectacular (2004)

Woolly Bully

Finally! After a full year of waiting, my French heroes from Okploïde return to the scene with a new album. Of course, my expectations were very high. What else to expect from the band that wrote the best demo of the past ten years? Although it's a damn heavy job to in fact write the best fucking album of the year as I expected them to do, they did not let me down at all. Granted, it's not the best album to come out in 2004, but it holds its own little place within my top ten.

For the laymen amongst our readers, Okploïde is a French band with a Basque singer who uses his background to sing in Spanish. The eight-piece from Pau is equipped with a three-man counting horn section that might make it admissible to expect the band to play ska; however, this is not the case. When I think about Okploïde, I can see Fat Mike open his ass cheeks in the hospital and give birth to a kid. Daddy Chris (from Less Than Jake) enters the room with a big bouquet of flowers. The proud parents decide to call their kid Okploïde and ask all the members of Ska-P to be godfathers. While growing up, Okploïde takes the best attributes from all his fathers and ends up being the coolest kid of the neighbourhood.

It's time to cut the crap for a second and talk about the band's recent debut album. Compared with the two songs that formed their demo that's dated mid-2003, their style hasn't changed much. Both songs from the demo are re-recorded and included on here. The two songs sound stronger thanks to the richer recording sound and the production applied. I still believe that "Perdida" is one of the best songs I've ever heard. The rest of the songs are pretty darn awesome as well.

Take the energetic opener "Sansacion" for example, that introduces us with ninety seconds of instrumental delight and another sixty that do include vocals. Talk about an aptly chosen name… The third song "Sacta" could have been the past year's mysterious summer hit, while classics such as "Historia" and "Facha" are as legend as the aforementioned "Perdida."

One of the downsides of the album is the lack of variation. Despite one fun ska song, the rest sound very much alike. Even though the average quality level of the songs is extremely high, I can't help but be bored by the weaker few among them. The excellent brass section does cover this up rather nicely, though. I would have liked to see it a little more dominantly present, but as powerful as it is right now I really have no reason to complain.

I've always been a sucker for melodies sung in exotic languages such as Spanish or Italian, but it would be nice to include the English translations for those who are total strangers to those languages. Furthermore, the CD is well-packed in a beautiful digipack.

Okploïde has once again outdone themselves with an excellent full-length. Well packed, well-filled and well impressed, Miseria Espectacular is a real treat for any melodic punk fan that always searches for that little extra in his music. None but one question remains: why in earth hasn't a label taken notice and signed these guys? Seriously, compared to the mediocre crap that's being put out today, it feels like a relief to hear bands as creative as Okploïde. Fat Mike should take note.