Dance Hall Crashers


These girls and guys are practically synonymous with early third wave east bay ska, and rightly so. Even the band's name is a reference to early fans of ska - the rude bwoys in early-sixties Jamaica, too poor or proud to pay the entrance fee, would crash the dance halls, which were more often than not the only air-conditioned places in shantytown. Most people would not argue with someone who presented a gun or a ratchet-knife when asked to pay an admission fee!

However, a new malcontent has crashed their sound, but this is no rudie - it's an 18 year old power pop fan with a studded naugahide wristband and three-day manic panic dyejob, both of which he got at the mall.

Though not as raucous as 1997's "Honey I'm Homely", it certainly chronicles DHC's move completely away from their previous sound. Trying to find an upbeat in this album is akin to looking for someone who actually cares about Op Ivy's message at a Rancid show. I like the fact that DHC has kept their preachy "you-suck" attitude that is prevalant in a lot of their work. The verbal barbs that Elyse and Karina harmonize on are always worth mention. For instance, in the title track "Make Her Purr", they intone the shortcomings of a guy stumbling over himself with desire for a girl who doesn't come close to returning the favor, "It took some time/ then you finally saw her again / and she ignored you like the rancid mustard in the fridge door". Also the music itself is beyond reproach; if you are into this genre you will find it technically great.

DHC knows who their fans are. When I met them in the back of the El Dorado Saloon in '98, I let Elyse know how happy we were that they played so much of their old repertoire. Usually with ska bands I'm unfazed when I get to meet them but this time I was so starstruck by Elyse and Karina that I was barely coherent! Anyone who wants a good example of the mesmerizing quality of Karina's voice should check out her cameo track ("Prison of Love") on Hepcat's latest album.

In sum, I would say don't buy this album. But if you are looking for a good ska record with their name on it, you should check out some of their earlier work instead.



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