Union Jack - You Don't Really Know Who I Am (Cover Artwork)

Union Jack

You Don't Really Know Who I Am (2004)


Union Jack -- not to be confused with the duo of the same name from England who play some kinda trance techno music -- was founded in 1997, hails from France, and plays a self-declared genre of music entitled "Bad Ska." With a sound that draws parallels to the Crack Rock Steady, it's no wonder Union Jack are considered by many to become "the next Choking Victim," (or at least the European version) as they are growing in popularity, largely thanks to their inclusion in the Riot Ska compilation put out by Beer Records in late 2004.

You Don't Really Know Who I Am starts off with "Feel the Blood," an intro track made up different sound bites, guitar, drum, and bass lines.

"Outta My Head" comes next and is, in my opinion, the best track on the EP. It's a song speaking out against the disgusting act of rape, warning anyone who partakes in it, "One day you'll end up with a bullet in the head." It's got a pretty fast-paced sound to it, with great bass playing by Rude Ben as well as perfectly incorporated sax sections by Mr. No that mold wonderfully with the drumming of Skrack.

The next track starts off with a very pleasant surprise: a piano intro by Rude Ben that is reminiscent of an upbeat Jill Tracy tune. The song then jumps into that "Bad Ska" beat with lyrical content dealing with themes of isolation, depression, death and drugs. Right before the first chorus you first get a real taste of Low Cut, the scratcher in the group who adds a fresh element lacking in a lot of modern day bands.

Up next is "Bad Brain" where you immediately get another taste of Low Cut's rare but influential input into the EP. Dealing with conformity and a lack of freedom in our modern capitalistic society, "Bad Brain" is a more hardcore-sounding song, as you might guess, with awesome sax, bass, and scratch breaks which keep the listener guessing on what's coming next.

"Subculture" starts off with an acoustic guitar (which is used for the verses of the song as well) and vocals that help evolve the second part of the first verse. It's a great song about the enslavement of humans by the media, cops, governments, corporations, religions, etc., and is the kind of song that sums up Union Jack: an upbeat ska-core song with great instrumentation and thought-provoking insightful lyrics.

The closing song of the EP, "Sabotage," starts off sounding like another hardcore track, but changes tones to that of a great ska-dance tune which questions the integrity of the punk music scene who are apparently conforming to that of the "trendy crowd," causing "hard times for the underground culture." It ends on a hardcore note, with Rude Ben and XXX trading back and forth on the vocals, rounding up a superb EP.

All in all, a great release from a great band and I strongly suggest that any fan of the ska-punk genre, or "Bad Ska" if you prefer, will love and play over and over again.