Voodoo Glow Skulls

Firme

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Released in both English and Spanish versions, Voodoo Glow Skulls' 1995 effort may have been one of the high points in popularity for the seven-member ska-punk outfit. Unlike some more laid-back performers in the genre, and coming from a time before the style was commercially successful, Voodoo Glow Skulls are a bit more heavy-handed on the punk part of the mix, resulting in consistently fast-paced and chugging song structures that occasionally erupt into triumphant horn breakdowns and chanted group vocals. The unfortunate aspect of this equation is that the band really isn't that great at punk rock, and the tracks tend to get muddled on a few occasions, though the group's ska stylings very nearly save the day a number of times. A cover of the traditional "Charlie Brown" and a few Spanish numbers come off pretty well, but at other points the band is just too juvenile to really make an impact. The disc also includes "Fat Randy," one of the group's more convincing ska-punk hybrids, whose kinetic horn parts and metal choruses earned it a bit of airplay in the mid-'90s. This is a record that will probably not appeal to all that many folks, and is better focused on "the kids" whose punk rock-loving hearts will accept just about anything. Firme is not a completely awful record, but it is a bit too silly and undirected to still be affecting.

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