welcome back to the Skaject folks! we’re checking out the last record we’ll cover from the 80s with Bad Manner’s 1989 record Return of the Ugly.

Skaville UK is a song i go back and forth on. i really love the energy, and i really want to love this song a lot, but something about the way Bloodvessel’s vocals here are mixed really really put a hamper on some parts of this song. i think ultimately i do like it but like i said, i go back and forth. Sally Brown is a song i mentioned a few weeks ago – i definitely like the Laurel Aitken cover a lot here. Since You’ve Gone Away is a quieter song, a bit more intimate. this is another one where i think the way Buster Bloodvessel’s vocals were processed really don’t help build the vibe they want for this song. Rosemary, however, is a cute little song. got a fun vibe on this track. Bonanza Ska is a cover of the theme song for the show Bonanza, but ska. it’s aight. i think they do a few interesting things here but not enough to really make me interested in it. the title track, Return of the Ugly, is quite good. its a very very strange track but they really make it work, haha. Hey Little Girl doesn’t really work for me. Buffalo Ska delivers a bit more authentically on the “western ska” vibes that it feels like Bonanza Ska was trying to do, and the result is a much stronger song. This Is Ska is trying to do a whole bunch but the complete package just doesn’t quite work for me. i think the last time i heard it i was a bit more open to it but i’m just not really a fan now. Rocksteady Breakfast is just okay. i feel like it would have been a much stronger song if it had been kept instrumental, but it’s fine as is. Baby Elephant Walk pretty solid too – a tad underwhelming as a closer, but it does feel like they took my notes and were like “okay fine have an instrumental track if that’s what you want so bad”.

faves – Skaville UK, Sally Brown, Rosemary, Return of the Ugly, Buffalo Ska
dislikes –

i feel kinda conflicted on this record as a whole. this is one of the records i reviewed as part of the old version of the Skaject, and at this point i wasn’t a huge fan of Bad Manners, so a lot of my gut reactions to this album aren’t phenomenal, but it does have quite a few good tracks. i think, with some time away and a bit more context of the music around them, that this was a p solid entry, but i think it’s being carried by a couple strong outliers rather than being a completely successful package.

Return of the Ugly – 6/10

next up, we’re listening to the debut record from Japanese ska band Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra!

previous: Tuba City | next: Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

previous Bad Manners: Mental Notes | next: Fat Sound

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