The O.C. Supertones

For the Glory

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As much as the band tried to push their sound into heavier, punk-fueled territory, the O.C. Supertones could never escape the "ska" tag that followed them throughout their initial 15-year run. The group didn't seem embarrassed about it, but hearing the sharp edges they applied to re-recordings of their earlier ska-based work on Revenge of the O.C. Supertones showed a band looking to mature as much as possible. Which is what makes the reunited Supertones such a puzzle. The two albums that the group have cooked up since 2010 find them reverting back to the jumpy rhythms, rocksteady horn blasts, and "hey hey hey" chanting that marked their first few albums. Is this simply giving their aging fans what they want? Or a move toward embracing what made them so popular in the first place? Whatever the motivation, the Supertones at least do this sound well. The upbeat tracks on For the Glory sound punchy and bright throughout, giving frontman Matt Morginsky plenty of room to proselytize and praise. The emphasis here -- as on 2010's Unite -- is on the latter. Past efforts put the spotlight on the flock, urging them on toward salvation. Here, the songs look skyward, thanking the band's chosen creator and expressing a little end-times motivation for his creative efforts ("The day will come/and God will fight/and all who love/will be made right," he sings on "All Glory"). An unintended effect of the Supertones cycling back to the world of ska is how so many of their songs are indistinguishable from one another. That does, however, allow the songs that step way back from that world to rise above the fray, particularly the album's highlight: the folksy and impassioned "Warmth of the Sun."

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