Skarnales get fired up with Dale Shine! | Houston Music | 29-95.com MusicSkarnales get fired up with Dale Shine!
Andrew Dansby at 11:23 am on September 9, 2010
Putting Felipe Galvan on a stage achieves an effect similar to dropping sodium into water. He’s an explosive performer, and Los Skarnales might be the best live band I’ve ever seen. Trying to harness that dizzying euphoria on CD is no easy task, but the group remains a spirited recording ensemble, transferring the energy — minus the sweat — onto an album. Dále Shine! — Los Skarnales’ first album in six years — is a representation of all that makes this band great.
Not surprisingly for an eight-piece Latin/ska/rock band Skarnales cover a lot of ground on Dále Shine! And the band wastes no time getting going. All Dressed Up is a jumbo-jet engine of an opener. Galvan spits lyrics a mile a minute while Jose Rodriguez’s scorching surf-guitar lick gives it drive.
There’s a celebratory feeling to Skarnales’ one-world inclusiveness. It’s music you feel, for sure, but it still lends itself to record-crate conversation. It’s no coincidence that an interior photo on the album includes album covers by the Specials, Delroy Wilson, the Clash, James Brown, Ritchie Valens, Johnny Cash, Los Xochimilcas and Joe Turner.
These seemingly disparate elements are always in the mix, but with each song Skarnales alter the proportions. ¿Donde Estás? opens with a loping rockabilly strut with Clashy all-for-one vocals before it turns into a skaplosion; slow, fast, slow, fast — it’ll be a corker in concert. On the flip side, Mala Vida is about the slowest thing on the record, a tip to Wilson with rocksteady ready backing vocals and a leisurely pace.
I won’t profess to understand the entirety of the lyrics, but if lies are really bothering the guys, you wouldn’t know it from the sound of Mentiras, which very much is sockhop ready. And there’s not much that needs to be said about a song called Ska Train, other than it’s delivered as it’s billed, with merry-go-round blasts of sax, trumpet and trombone.
True to some of those aforementioned influences, the proceedings are frequently dappled with a playful comic sensibility, like way the group vocals on Una Otra Vez swerve into drunken singalong.
Hopefully six more years won’t pass before the next one. It was a long wait. But it was worth it.