Album Reviews: Victims of Circumstance - Five
VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCE
Growing up in the mid-90’s punk scene, also put me front and center for the 3rd wave ska movement. Goldfinger, Less Than Jake, Mustard Plug, The Suicide Machines, Catch 22, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Reel Big Fish all released monumental albums. Carrying forward that tradition is Florida’s Victims of Circumstance. Founded in 2005, the Clearwater based group has earned legions of fans with incredible live performances and stellar album releases full of their signature sound that combines elements of punk, ska, reggae, and even swing; something they do again on their latest album Five. A shredding guitar rips you into the album as it opens with “Sober” before giving way to a shot of horns and the baseline driven ska that immediately gets you skankin’ along with it; a sound that they continue with the next song, “Tonight We’re Getting Loud.” But they aren’t one trick ponies, either. Whereas songs such as “Never Have I Ever,” “Enemy” and “Involuntary” are all straight-ahead punk rock songs that sound like they’re pulled straight from the Fat Wreck Chords catalog, songs such as “Quit Looking For The Win” relies of a neo-swing feel, while “Obey The Rules” gives a much more chilled vibe that sits squarely in a reggae pocket. And as you roll to album closer “Ready To Go,” they leave you skankin’ in the same way as when the album opened with “Sober” – making me think that perhaps this album was laid out to mimic a live setlist. VOC is a band that knows what they do, and they do well, but just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they unpeel another layer of the depth they bring to the table. Although this sounds like a lost album from the 90’s era of ska-punk, the timing for it couldn’t be any better. In an era that takes itself far too seriously these days, Victims of Circumstance comes along and refreshingly reminds us that it’s still okay to have a little bit of fun.