The Exceptions

Five Finger Discount

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The Detroit-based Exceptions first came to national attention with their appearance on the American Skathic compilation, returning for an encore on American Skathic, Vol. 2. They then ripped it up on Misfits of Ska, and followed that with their own No Shoes, No Shirt, No Exceptions! set. Moving on to the Jump Up! label, the group next unleashed Five Finger Discount, a showcase for their melodic skacore sound, and -- unusually for a ska-based concern -- savage socially conscious lyrics that took exception to just about everything: the danger of "Trailer Park Love," where "Oven"'s pointed birth control advice comes too late, the indignities delivered by the likes of cops like "Mean Ole Malley," the casual injustices of daily life. Hey, even love resembles a car "Crash" in the band's oft-times jaundiced view of the world. But this pilfering set manages to steal some happiness along the way, finding bliss with an "Angel," and hope in the possibilities of unity. But no matter how downbeat the message, the Exceptions' upbeat music softens the lyrical blows. 2 Tone-streaked, the group shakes up the musical moods, smashing bouncy and breezy ska straight into menacing, aggressive punk, further mixing it up with the trad sound of jazzy brass vying with hard rock and metal elements. It's a potent brew, especially as the emphasis always remains on the band's powerful melodies and exuberant delivery. The arrangements are equally strong, and while the brass still have some room for improvement, not always being as tight as they should be, this set bodes well for a band that has already established quite the reputation on the Midwest scene.

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