Album Reviews

The Mighty Mighty BosstoneS Album Review – When God Was Great

The Mighty Mighty BossToneS Announce New Album ‘When God Was Great’ Released May 7 Via Hellcat Records.

Check Out New single ‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING’ 

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Ska-punk pioneers The Mighty Mighty BossToneS will release their 11th studio record When God Was Great on May 7 via Hellcat Records.

The album production is immaculate. Ted Hutt has crafted a fantastic balance between the songs and they also benefit from the influence of Tim Armstrong, long term friend of the band and legendary front man of Rancid/Transplants. The album is a celebration, if nothing else, where friends and collaborations are revered. It’s not all roses but like the resilient flower, beauty is cultivated in the harshest of environments.

The album sees the band—Barrett, bassist Joe Gittleman, saxophonists Tim Burton and Leon Silva, Ben Carr, drummer Joe Sirois, guitarist Lawrence Katz, keyboardist John Goetchius, trombonist Chris Rhodes and founding BossTone and original guitar player Nate Albert. “With all of this time on our hands, we started writing with a sense of urgency and we were really inspired. I don’t like to use that word because I think inspiration comes from a better place, but all of a sudden there was nothing stopping us, and we started producing at a fevered pitch and a rapid pace.”

“We were lightly writing songs before the insanity without any sort of timeline in mind. All of a sudden, the world changed and benchmark events in a very long career that we were looking forward to, such as playing with the Madness at the Greek Theatre, were taken away from us,” explains frontman Dicky Barrett. “With all of this time on our hands, we started writing at a quickened pace and we were really inspired. As grim as everything around us was in the outside world, this was the most fun we ever had making a record.”

The band’s 11th studio album When God Was Great is the culmination of their extensive and all-embracing career and sees the band bringing back friends, tourmates, and bandmates from the past for a sonic celebration that stresses the power of perseverance and human connection during tumultuous times. “As grim as everything around us was in the outside world, this was the most fun we ever had making a record,” explains the band’s outspoken frontman Dicky Barrett. “The feeling in the studio was really magical and I think that quality presents itself on the finished—here’s an ugly word—product.”

The opening track grabs you from the start. “Decide” sets the expectations for the rest of the album as we are asked, “Should we cash in or should we let it ride? Will this be sanctioned or be nullified? We have got to decide.” The second track “Move” has such a great feel good feeling to it and could easily of been a single but its “I don’t believe in anything” that got the nod and it has an anthemic quality about it. “Certain Things” brings a serenity before “Bruised” brings back the unmistakable ska bounce to the proceedings. “The Killing of Georgie (Part III)” is a barn storming track which leads right into “You had to be there” and the pace continues. The Mighty Mighty BosstoneS leave you in no doubt this album must be experienced live, bounce back from the enforced lockdown. The title track brings a reflective mood without dwelling on the past but it’s not long till you’re bounced all the way to “The Final Parade” which features Aimee Interrupter.

“Feel free to apply that logic to our new album, the more people think it’s not going to make sense, the more likely it is going to make sense in our world.”

This sentiment is evident in the album’s nearly eight-minute-long closer “The Final Parade,” is a classic album closer featuring dozens of guests spanning The Mighty Mighty BossToneS’ career including Tim Armstrong, Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers), Angelo Moore (Fishbone) Jay Navarro (Suicide Machines), Jimmy G (Murphy’s Law), Christian Jacobs (The Aquabats), John Feldmann (Goldfinger), Steve Jackson (The Pietasters) members of H20, and Less Than Jake, to name a few. Along with some of the new ska-guard such as Aimee Interrupter and The Interrupters, Jet Baker (Buster Shuffle), and Laila Khan (Sonic Boom Six.) Barrett refers to the song as “a love letter to ska” that has held strong through the genre’s various waves, trends, and iterations. “Ska is always something that’s been very close to my heart. The people that have contributed to this track and countless other like-minded ska lovers, mean a great deal to me and the BossToneS. Without overcomplicating things here, I guess the time felt right so we took the opportunity to say, ‘Thank you ska music, we hope we didn’t do too much damage! either way, we love you.

That sense of love and gratitude is the plaid cord that weaves When God Was Great‘s seemingly disparate threads together, and Barrett credits the band’s friends and family for continuing to inspire and support them to keep pushing their sound forward after all these years together. “Just about everybody that’s been a BossTone played on this album or contributed to it,” he explains, noting the inclusion of the band’s founding guitarist Nate Albert, who hasn’t performed on an album since 2000’s Pay Attention. Or saxophone player/BossTone/airline captain Roman Fleysher whose contribution can be heard on the track “Bruised”. Then there are actual family members like Silva’s daughter (“The Killing Of Georgie Part III”) and Barrett’s children (“As Long As I Can See The Light”), who can at times be seen performing on stage with the band as well.

The album ends with Jamaican ska reggae artist Stranger Cole saying, ‘family and friends get together again’ and if there is an overlying theme to both what we were experiencing and what we were creating, that line really sums it up,” Barrett explains in gravelly voice that sounds strangely reassuring during such uncertain times. “As simple as that philosophy is, it’s also the truth—and that’s what we are offering with this collection of songs.”

WHEN GOD WAS GREAT TRACK LISTING

  1. DECIDE
  2. M O V E
  3. I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING
  4. CERTAIN THINGS
  5. BRUISED
  6. LONELY BOY
  7. THE KILLING OF GEORGIE (PART III)
  8. YOU HAD TO BE THERE
  9. WHEN GOD WAS GREAT
  10. WHAT IT TAKES
  11. LONG AS I CAN SEE THE LIGHT
  12. THE TRUTH HURTS
  13. IT WENT WELL
  14. I DON’T WANT TO BE YOU
  15. THE FINAL PARADE

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