Various Artists

Oi!/Skampilation, Vol. 2: Skalloween

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The follow-up to the immensely popular Oi!/Skampilation, Vol. 1, Vol. 2 is likewise packed with live powerhouse performances from a representative sampling of ska, skacore, and hardcore bands, this time culling the highlights hit at the Oi!/Skalloween Party held at New York's Coney Island High School on Halloween 1995. However, there are significantly fewer bands featured on this set -- a mere ten compared to the previous comp's 16 -- although fans won't be disappointed. It only means that listeners get to spend more time with six of the bands, which get two tracks instead of just one. The high-octane hardcore heroes Blank 77s, making an encore appearance from Vol. 1, the smash-and-grab Krays, and the Ramones-esque Furys (aka the Truents) all proudly wave the punk flag, with Pist'n'Broke breaching the genre barricades, flying an Oi! pennant on their first track and a checkerboard banner across their second. The Skoi!Dats' loyalties are even more split, amalgamating anthemic melodic punk, fast-and-furious third wave, riffing reggae, jazz, and even Spanish flavors into their two numbers. Inspecter 7, also featured on the previous volume, prefer their ska as tight as it can get, the pace frenetic but the solos, for all their energy, almost limpid in their expert execution. The recently formed Skavengers are nowhere near as clean, but make up for their lapses with their enthusiasm. Ruder Than You have it all, splashing third wave that's crisp, tight, and exhilarating, with their "Justice" one of the standouts on the set. The Slackers, another graduate of Vol. 1, would soon transform into one of the nation's premier rocksteady bands, but here they deliver up ska in flawless trad style, sending The Munsters skanking down to Jamaica. In contrast, Skinnerbox already have rocksteady down to a T, and roots reggae to boot, as they splendidly showcase on "Help Me." Fewer bands for your buck, but with performances this good the set brings home the sheer excitement of a festival that was one of the high points of the year.

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