1. Up In Smoke
2. Storm Warning
3. Be Real
4. Little Sister
It seems that good Ska releases are like buses. You wait for one for months and then two turn up together.
Filthy Militia are a five piece Ska-Punk outfit based in North London. They comprise of Frosty - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Luke - Trumpet, Backing Vocals, Hannah - Saxophone, Backing Vocals, Justin - Bass, Backing Vocals and John - Drums, Backing Vocals. Amongst others they list their influences as The Clash, Madness, Ramones, The Specials, Jimmy Cliff, Billy Ocean and The Levellers. As all of these are bands I love, I was intrigued to hear what Ska/Gypsy/Punk sounded like. As it turned out, it sounded pretty good.
'Up In Smoke' opens up with glorious horns and the unmistakable choppy up stroke guitar. The vocal is punchy with nice backing vocals. The production is not as polished as it could be but this is a debut EP. The vocals did get a bit lost in the track, but the horns were at the forefront, which makes a nice change. With the 'Whoa' in the song this is a good intro to the EP and gets your feet tapping.
'Storm Warning' has a clearer vocal and you can hear The Clash and The Leveller influences in it. This is a more Folky Ska number. Whilst not as prominent as on the first track, the horns again add warmth and depth to the track.
Things slow down on 'Be Real' with a lone guitar starting it. Again the horns provide the hook, with this sounding a lot more like a revival Two Tone number, but with a definite Reggae vibe to it. The vocals are clear and mellow, and this is more akin to original Jamaican Ska.
The EP finishes with 'Little Sister' which is a vintage Two Tone sound which reminded me of The Beat. After the previous 2 songs this one, like the opening track made me want to slip on my Ox Blood Loafers and start skanking again. It is catchy and melodic, which means it sticks in your head, like all closing tracks should do.
Apart from the somewhat fuzzy vocal on 'Up In Smoke' each track was clear and showcased different styles of Ska. I loved the prominence of the Horns. So I have decided I like Ska/Gypsy/Punk. I would like to see Filthy Militia live and to see the energy they put into their performance. Ska is a genre that is best live with the crowd feeding off of each other and the musicians on stage.
Filthy Militia know their genre and have served up tracks that are more dominated by Ska beats and hooks than I was expecting. I really want to see how this band progresses and hear more music from them.
Filthy Militia have introduced themselves with 16 minutes of fun and diversity, that makes you want to move your feet. If this is what it feels like to be Filthy, then who needs Innocence. This band knows how to be Horney!
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/filthymilitia/
Review - Tony Creek