Various Artists

Smash Your Radio: Jump Up! Sampler

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In 1998, when this sampler was originally released, the third wave ska revival was in full swing and America was crawling with ska bands. Unfortunately, if predictably, few of them were very good. But most of the 14 groups presented on this 24-track collection were above average, making this a more worthwhile sampler than most. It opens powerfully with Greenhouse's "822 Anywhere," a surprisingly sophisticated piece of ska popcraft. Other high points include the swinging "Blue Serge Suit" by Gangster Fun, the smoothly skanking "Weekend World '98" by Suspect Bill, and a bracing slab of ska-punk called "Harry" by the Eclectics. The disappointments are provided courtesy of the Adjusters, who true to form, are more interesting politically than musically (and they're not that interesting politically), and Hot Stove Jimmy, whose headlong skacore tries but ultimately fails to rise above the thrashing crowd. But as American ska compilations go, this one ends up being solidly above average.

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