welcome back to the Skaject folks! today, its another new band to the Skaject, as we’re looking at the debut record from San Fransisco band Skankin’ Pickle.

Skafunkrastapunk, released in 1991, is an odd record. im gonna eschew my normal tracks-in-order format here as i wanna talk though the vibes on this album. it shows a high degree of musical skill – the tracks here range pretty widely in style, as the album title would suggest, and i really dig the musical performances throughout. Road Zombie, the opener, and Ska, later in the record, are both very fun, very interesting tracks. even How Funk! and Fakin’ Jamaican are really fun, since lyrically they’re mostly about the songs’ influences musically. we’ve got some really really good horns – between the saxes, the trumpet, and trombone, i dig the hornline across the whole thing. the bassist on this record, Mike Mattingly, does a phenomenal job. seriously, this album has some really fun music, and i can pick bits off of just about every song that i really really enjoy.

its in the lyrics, however, that i feel things are hit and miss. in some places, its just crass, which ive grown to expect from debut records around the punk scene – songs like Doin’ Something Naughty and Don’t Judge a Man By the Hair On His Butt have some really excellent moments (the guitar work on Doin’ Something Naughty kicks ass and the verses on Hair On His Butt are very very good) but the tracks overall feel kinda juvenile. of the two, i think Hair On His Butt is the more successful. Asian Man is a complicated track – a component of this is speaking to the experience of being Asian in America, and joking about Asian sterotypes like eating dog meat or being Buddhist. frontman Mike Park would go on to found Asian Man records, a pretty big indie label in the punk and ska scene, and has spoken a lot on his experience as a Korean-American, so this reads to me like some edgy juvenile humor, and not a song made with any malice, but i dunno! sits odd for me. might be me bringing my own whiteness into the experience of the track, so im probs not the best authority on this one, and i am almost certainly overthinking it. on the sillier end, song like Hulk Hogan and Burnt Head are fun but just fine for me. apparently, Mike Mattingly was bald, and would come out with a wig during performances of Burnt Head to take off during the song. also, it may just be the fact that i listened to them for a weekly review recently, but Peter Piper & Mary, the closer, reminds me a LOT of Primus, in presentation and style of humor, if not in intensity.

there IS a joke across the record i really like – there are many parts where Park will call for another band member or isntrument to play (“give me the bass!” before a fun bass lick, or calling for the trombone before it plays, for example), and man thats one of my fave bits.

a couple of the tracks strike me for their sincerity and absolutely shine – Racist World and Fights both deal with issues in the scene and beyond, and both are extremely good. It’s Not Too Late also fits in here, as a track about chasing your dreams and a brighter future – very nice message and song.

something else neat about this is that so many of the songs sound like they were recorded live – 23 Second Song ends up longer with the play in and out that includes crowd sounds, for example, and i really dig the vibes it lends to the record.

on the whole, ive listened to enough debut ska and punk records to be extremely excited for what comes ahead after kicking things off like this.

faves – Road Zombie, It’s Not Too Late, Racist World, Ska, Fights, How Funk!
dislikes –

Skafunkrastapunk – 7/10

next week, we’re checking out Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra’s World Famous

previous: Salamander Stew | next: World Famous

this is the first Skankin’ Pickle record | next: Skankin’ Pickle Fever

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