This weekend super-fun ska punks The Crash Mats released their second album 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics. It’s 28 minutes of solid comedy gold, out on Horn & Hoof records now. Spoiler alert: there’s not a panpipe in sight.
The trio from Oldham have been around since 2008, and yet ‘maturity’ is the last word you’d use to describe this record. Their songs are short, snappy punk ditties and that can’t fail to plaster a grin on your face, covering such thought-provoking topics as The North, getting high and how your parents may react to finding a dead babysitter. If you’ve had the joy of catching The Crash Mats live before, you’ll know they’re unbelievably fast and fun. Before I saw them I’d never had the opportuntity to skank along to the Chucklevision theme tune and I am eternally grateful to them for that. 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics take all of that energy and delivers it staight to your living room.
The album opens with an invitation to join them on a Hot Air Balloon Ride (“Would you like a ride in my hot air balloon?”), rolling through to Drive Me to Drink (“You drive me to drink, you drive me to drink.”) and heavier Oldham’s National Anthem (“Meat pie, chips and gravy!”). The Crash Mats are by no means lyrical genuises, but they sure do get their point across. It’s fun on record, but the drunken-singalong potential live is second-to-none.
They also excel in story-telling, paticuarly on Don’t Go Down Yorkshire Street On A Friday Night, which by the sounds of it is a valid public service annoucement in musical-form. Songs like I Don’t Want to Go to Grandma’s House (“It’s Friday night and I wanna play out…”) captialise on whimiscal themes, but it’s the juxtaposition of childish topics with the heavier backline and rougher Bazz’s street-punk style vocals that makes it so special.
If you only listen to one track, make sure it’s Watchmen – the first single from the album and arguably the most accomplished of all the tracks. It’s got all the grooves of a ’60s spy movie, and features some sultry (dare I say sexy?) saxophone that sets it apart from the rest of the album. On the one hand, I can imagine it as a boudoir soundtrack. On the other hand, I imagine my Mum might quite enjoy dancing round the kitchen to it. It’s versatile to say the least.
My highlights are Soppy Love Song and Party at Lou’s Place. Soppy Love Song is slow, plodding parody of a romantic tune, featuring a lyric that makes me giggle whenever I hear it (“I don’t like ferrero rocher, because I’ve got a nut allergy.”), before kicking into 20 seconds of pit-ripping fury. Party at Lou’s Place is an overwhelmingly fun, Neighbours-themed, grooving ska ditty – I defy you not skank around like a lunatic to this. “You want to party with me down on Ramsay Street?” There is literally nothing I would rather do.
To obtain your very own precious copy of 69 Peruvian Panpipe Classics make sure you catch The Crash Mats live on one of their many dates or message them on Facebook. Alternatively, you can download it from from Horn & Hoof.