Var­i­ous artists

Trem­bling Earth (F&J Records)

Scootering - - Scootering Words & Sounds - Nik

Scot­land has long had a strong ska tra­di­tion, with many bands emerg­ing from the north­ern na­tion in the years since the 2-Tone era. Trem­bling Earth brings the best of the (more-or-less) cur­rent crop to­gether in a stomp­ing col­lec­tion of 33 tracks from 16 bands, giv­ing a dou­ble al­bum that rarely hits a mis­beat. From well-known acts such as The Am­phetamea­nies, Bomb­skare and Capone and the Bul­lets, through up and com­ing bands Esper­anza and Big Fat Panda to rel­a­tive un­knowns The Cherry Reds and the won­der­fully named Vic­to­rian Trout Con­spir­acy, a wide va­ri­ety of takes on the off­beat are present. The high­lights gen­er­ally come from the name acts, al­though Teddy Cut A Dash from Urang Matang and Sea Bass Kids’ Ginger Stare are both worth a spe­cial men­tion here as ex­am­ples of how you don’t have to be a name band to put out good mu­sic. As ex­pected with Scot­tish ska, there’s a huge dol­lop of good hu­mour and tale telling through the songs, all built around a va­ri­ety of ska styles from the 2-Tone of the ’Mea­nies through a more mod­ern sound from Root Sys­tem, to in­die/ska hy­brid Bis, to the glo­ri­ously ob­scen­ity-loaded Joe Viterbo, whose I F***** Telt You could only have been recorded by a Scot. For me, this is one of the best ‘themed’ com­pi­la­tions I’ve heard in a long, long time – per­haps since the days of the Do the Dog com­pi­la­tions – and is pretty much an essen­tial pur­chase to my mind.

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