CODENAME COLIN – Outgunned REVIEW

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Tomorrow marks the release of five piece ska punk band, Codename Colin’s second EP, Outgunned. The Hertfordshire band has some serious spirit, spending the last year and a half travelling around the UK to liven up crowds, bringing the band the notoriety of fun and energetic shows. Equipped with two saxophones and the means to combine head banging with skanking, Codename Colin sits in a ska punk line up next to Less Than Jake and Goldfinger.

The band was originally formed in 2012 by frontman Charlie Gabriel and after reuniting in 2016 with a solid line up, Codename Colin already has a few hits under their belts such as ‘Agent 23’ and ‘Match Dot Com.’ The band have truly grown as a band, and this time around Codename Colin has come on in leaps and bounds. Outgunned is a real contender to place them on the throne of one of UK’s rising ska punk bands.

Outgunned is an eight track album including a cover version of ‘Just A Day’ by Welsh band, Feeder. The original in itself is a huge song known throughout the scene, but in true Codename Colin style, they’ve worked their magic to make it the ska punk version we all didn’t know we needed. It’s one thing, being able to take such a highly rated song and charmingly turning it into something else, but Codename Colin has a plethora of talents and originality bursting at the seams. Earlier this year, they released an official music video for ‘Losing Touch’ that’s frankly, one of the catchiest songs to come out of 2017. Not only is it a wet dream for the ska punks of this generation, but the music video in itself is a throwback to some of the most iconic fashion trends that every early 2000’s punks indulged in and almost immediately influencing you to break out the checked Vans with a shirt, tie and waistcoat.

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One of the biggest appeals to Codename Colin’s Outgunned is the first track, ‘New Year’s Resolution.’ Armed with an alto and tenor sax, the fierce sound they supply really supports the pumped up attitude that Codename Colin possess. ‘Friday 19th’ is another example of their spirit, with quick instrumental verses complemented by the sound of sax’s doing what they do best. The entire album is compiled of anthem-like songs to get you pumped. If your library includes the likes of Reel Big Fish or Less Than Jake, this band is definitely for you.

Codename Colin has a multitude of avenues that they explore though, with ‘Pulling Teeth’ really taking on a reggae-like tone. A lot of the attitude of the album comes from the lead vocalist, who gives the songs that extra oompf with charmingly hoarse vocals, and showing off what the British have to offer the ska punk scene. The fifth track, ‘Declan’ really puts the focus on the other instruments, showing the effect that the bass does have on the music. It’s a short song, but the amplified sound of the drums and bass gives the listener a chance to experience the other side of the music, and overall, ‘Declan’ is musical proof that Codename Colin can explore their music in many of ways. But, they’ve truly mastered the arts of ska punk, and since their earlier releases, they’ve shown that the more that they make music, the more they continue to grow into something special. ‘Putting Up Walls’ is a personal favourite from Outgunned with it almost feeling like the kind of songs you’d listen to while in a warm villa somewhere off the coast of Cala Pi, as you look over to the sun-kissed beaches and perfectly blue ocean stretching for miles in front of you. With it coming up to winter now, I’m sure Codename Colin can send you into a nostalgia frenzy as you reminisce about the freedom of summer, and warm your heart in front of the fire.

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Keep up to date with Codename Colin by following their FACEBOOK and TWITTER and be sure to check out Outgunned tomorrow, September 1st across all platforms. 

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Less Than Jake – Sound The Alarm Review

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Less Than Jake, a band that’s mastered the art form of creating catchy ska punk hits that are not only catchy, but emotionally driven long ago.

Earlier in February, Less Than Jake finally hit back from a quiet few years with a new addition to their list of albums. Sound The Alarm released on the 3rd of February and despite the amount of years the guys have been putting on shows, creating music and ultimately having a good time, Less Than Jake has still managed to keep the ska punk theme that we’ve all come to love. It’s a nostalgic taste of something new – titles such as “Things Change” and “Good Sign” are songs that will remind you of the 2003 Anthem days, while songs like “Bomb Drop” gives us a taste of what 2006’s In With The Out Crowd would have sounded like if they sprinkled a bit more ska over that punk rock cake they cooked up.

“Call To Arms” is the opening track. It’s faced paced, it’s catchy and full of bass. It’s best choice of song to kick off the album – it’s a preview of whats to come over the next handful of songs. It’s a classic Less Than Jake sound, and the song to get anyone pumped.

The 7 song album has a run-time of 20 minutes, which is never enough time to listen to Less Than Jake. Even when the release date was still waiting to be announced, and more and more information would leak about the album, I couldn’t figure out whether or not it would be an EP or an album. Either way, despite it’s short length, it’s what everyone’s been waiting for.

“Years of Living Dangerously” is the song that shows the most maturity out of the album. While each song has every bit of dance inducing tunes that get you moving even though you’re hunched over a laptop (hollah!), the songs show a more emotional side than we have seen before. The Less Than Jake vocals have always been unique – you can tell the band from a mile away if you hear the words – but this album really shows off just how well the whole band mixes. Every single instrument is just as much prominent as it is blended to create a well-rounded sound, and the vocals are just a sprinkle on top of strawberry cake. Bellissimo! 

Visit the Less Than Jake website for information on current tour updates by clicking here. They were recently announced for the Slam Dunk UK festival, alongside Zebrahead, Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish.

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