In the time-honored fashion of no-nothing record company talent-scouting, Save Ferris, a neo-ska sextet from Orange County, CA, with a female lead singer, was signed by Epic Records in 1997 in the wake of the multi-platinum success of No Doubt, a neo-ska quartet from Orange County, CA, with a female lead singer, in 1996. Save Ferris's debut album, It Means Everything, reached the Top 100 bestsellers and sold 300,000 copies in the U.S., paced by a cover of Dexys Midnight Runners' hit "Come on Eileen." On their second album, the group still sounds a lot like No Doubt, with its furious ska rhythms and Monique Powell's throaty vocals and lovelorn lyrics. Powell differs from No Doubt's Gwen Stefani in being somewhat angrier where Stefani seemed more heartbroken on her band's breakthrough hit "Don't Speak." That's a key difference, however. "Mistaken," the lead-off single, is a full-throttle rocker unlikely to open doors for Save Ferris beyond its modern rock radio base, and the only other track on the record that sounds like the sort of song the group needs to build its following is the album-closing ballad "Let Me In." Of course, the success of No Doubt did not mean that America had suddenly developed a love for ska (as record company flacks may have supposed), it meant that an individual song ("Don't Speak") and singer (Stefani) had struck a chord. Save Ferris may yet find its own place, but that is more likely to come through touring than through its records, at least given the ones they've made so far.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann