Spring Heeled Jack USA - Static World View (Cover Artwork)

Spring Heeled Jack USA

Static World View (1996)

Moon Ska

There is so much ska hate in the world. "It was over by '97"; "Skanking is fucking stupid"; "Ska fans are most likely all 14 years old"...the insults go on. As a ska fan you sometimes feel down, like you shouldn't be a rude boy, but then you hear this album and everything is better. With the vinyl reissue from Asbestos Records and digital downloads from Paper + Plastick, I figured there wouldn't be a better time to review this ska-punk gem than now. Static World View has everything you want in a ska record: top-notch hornlines, a metric ton of upstrokes, lyrics that you can connect to, even toasting for god's sake. This is a record for ska fans by ska fans and Spring Heeled Jack is just trying to make you proud to love to skank.

First of all, the instrumentation on this record is amazing. Songs like the single "Pay Your Dues" and "Running Man (Lookin' Thru the Mirror)" have some of the fastest upstrokes out there, and other songs like the instrumental "Rufus Shakeedoo" and "Freedom" have great, blasting horns; the latter has some of the best toasting the third wave had to offer. The aforementioned "Pay Some Dues" shows just how great musicians SHJ can be. With incredible horns and some crazy-fast playing, it's no doubt why they made this the single. One cannot forget the rhythm section, the late Dave Karcich (RIP) and bassist Rick Omonte showing off how to keep songs in beat along with some flashiness of their own.

Next, let us examine the lyrics. Right in the opening song "One Way" you hear the standout lyric "there's only one way to skank / it's universal." That right there gives us ska kids some hope that this album is going to be everything we've hoped. "Running Man (Lookin' Thru the Mirror)" is about how much fun it is to skank and my personal favorite song, the standout "Addicted," is plainly and simply about being, ahem, addicted to ska and fun music in general. There are some other great lyrical tracks that aren't about skanking too: "This Song (Has Probably Been Played Before)" has some lyrics about how maybe their style might not be too original but, what the fuck, we love it, it's fun. "Big Stone Cowboy" is a memorable track, having lyrics like "Give him a chance--it won't matter / he won't try--he won't get any better / I don't care what the papers say / The big stone cowboy rules the day."

Spring Heeled Jack's next and final album, Songs from Suburbia, was another great classic of East Coast ska, allowing them to go down in the hall of fame with legends like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Pilfers and Less Than Jake. Post-breakup members went on to form numerous bands like the Mountain Movers and Lost City Angels, and the life of drummer Dave Karcich was tragically cut short at the age of 28 due to a cerebral aneurysm.

In May SHJ played two sold-out reunion shows in their hometown of New Haven, CT, to crowds of adoring fans. Band friend Howard "Corky" Evans filled in on drums. People who attended the show have said things like "...it ruled. The folks I know who were at the second night said it was even better. I can't even imagine it." and "They killed it the second night. Great, great show."

A fan favorite and a classic of the third wave of ska, this record is a must-own. The record is absolutely perfect--no one song, riff, hornline, lyric or bass part is off; it is right on all the way through.