The Times are indeed a changin', as the third wave inundated the furthest crevices of the U.S., even Skoidats' hometown of Missoula, Montana --why should the Rockies by impervious to the possibilities of ska? The group proudly wear their influences on their (record) sleeve, with song titles like "Saturday Skins," "Rootsawalkin'" and "Moonstomp '97" reflecting their love of the sounds of "Yesterday." With its clash of ska and metal, "Skins" walks a dangerously thin line to another group of modern skankers, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, a closeness emphasized by Justin Dillavou's gruff vocals. Until, that is, the jazzy brass section kicks in, and then the similarities are suddenly flushed away; for all their skinhead stomp, the Skoidats copious use of horns and their obvious debt to the likes of the Skatalites and Supersonic, turn the skin sound inside out. This is most magnificently illustrated on "Moonstomp 97," an homage to the '60s skinhead anthem, performed not in the reggae style of the original, but in superb ska fashion, flush with superb horn solos and a surprisingly rootsy atmosphere. "Rootsawalkin'" is similarly misleading, not roots at all, but ska in a minor key, splashed with Latin-flavored brass, and again fired by the fabulous horn solos. "Halfway There" adds some haunting harmonies to the mix, imagine a jazzy Steel Pulse with an aggressive edge to conjure up the right effect. However, the album is not merely a brass-led extravaganza, there's plenty of straight-up skankers to send the skins and rudies into a frenzied "Whirlwind." Besides that track, there's the anthemic "Goggles & Blinders," the knees-up "Granted" and "Yesterday," the poppy, rocky singalong title track, and of course, the skanking, boozy jig "Beer, Beer, Beer." So The Times has something for everyone then, a true third Wave festival equally appealing to the skins and the rudies, purists and clashers, headbangers and jazz fans. The Skoidats pull it all together with flair and flamboyance.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene