Giving the most glorious workout to swinging hips and inexhaustible feet, as well as instinctive pleasure, Scottish Ska-punks The Hostiles recently released new album Last Call. It offers thirteen tracks of melody thick, brass clad, and feverishly delivered punk ‘n’ roll as raw and snarling as they are inescapably irresistible.
Formed in 2001, The Hostiles began with brothers Josh (guitar/vocals), and Chris Barron (bass/vocals). Growing up in the US, the pair was seduced by the sounds of west coast ska and the likes of Reel Big Fish, NOFX, and No Doubt. In their teens, the pair moved to Scotland, soon discovering the rawer energy and sounds of bands such as Capdown, Lightyear, and King Prawn. Linking up with Callum Douglas (drums) and Steve Bruce (trombone), The Hostiles was soon rousing the local live scene with in time Joe Stainke (trombone) completing the current line-up. Quickly renowned for their energetic live performances, the band’s reputation swiftly grew and spread, helped in turn by the release of debut album Always Looking Forward in 2009. Proceeding to share stages with bands such as Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Zebrahead, The Mad Caddies, Strike Anywhere, and many more, The Hostiles followed up their attention luring first album with the Late Nights… And Early Hours EP in 2012 and the single/video For A Good Time Call 07946058526 two years later.
Now it is Last Call drawing attention and from its first minute arousing body and spirit. From the opening intro, the album leaps upon the listener with opener Ed Knows. An attitude laden bassline stalks the initial vocal draw, both leading into a fiery lure of guitar and rapier like swings from Douglas. Quickly as the trombones share their melodic flames, the track is a contagious blaze of infectious sound with a funk infused swing and punk ingrained fuel to its roar. There is little time before the listener is adding their full contribution in voice and movement, a success matched in the following Inconsiderate. A lighter stomp of a song with Hammond flavoured keys courting its instantly open catchiness, it carries a familiar air which only adds to its thrilling appeal.
The band’s inspirations are never far from the surface at times, the second song evidence but spices used to shape songs which undoubtedly have The Hostiles character, as shown again in the prowling You Liar. Swaggering alone with mischief in its creative glands, the song is confrontational but an epidemic of big hooks and intimidating attitude, and quite superb. It reveals the great mix of pop honed and punk rock driven sounds which have sparked the band’s passions over time, all woven into another distinctive proposition before things calm a touch with I’ll Assume. It is just a touch too as the song soon shows its teeth and melodic prowess in a King Prawn like canter with exotic melodies and moody basslines entangling the ever potent vocals and swathes of mariachi hued trombone.
Both Night Out with its dirty tone and ridiculously infectious enterprise and its successor Wish You All The Best has body and soul leaping. The first is ska punk at its most creatively virulent and indeed addictive while the second is a boisterous romp shaped with smart hooks and persuasive melodies as well cast in imaginative drama coloured by rock guitar and theatrical brass.
The album continues to keep the listener on their toes with a broad grin on their face as the punk brawl of Spend My Life, the gentler sway of So, I Wonder, and the blazing exploits of Late Nights come, go, and leave ears and appetite aroused. The third of the trio especially adds another pinnacle to Last Call, all offering undeniable reasons to embrace The Hostiles adventure, with To Err Is Human providing another major highlight. The band’s latest single, it also has a hint of Mariachi El Bronx to its melodic and trombone nurtured side, a great flavour mixing with heavier punk rock attitude.
Released From Captivity uncages another addictive tempting, guitars and bass alone creating a web of hooks which snare body and heart with ease. Familiar essences come to the surface of the song but flavours simply used to shade its own individual devilment before the closing pair of encounters starting with Nobody Else. The song does not make the same impact as others within Last Call, yet has mutual participation with ease so does little wrong before the album’s title track brings it all to a cantankerous close. It is a ska infested hardcore brawl of a proposal, vocals a throated scraping challenge as brass bring a tonic to the imposingly grouchy touch of guitar and rhythms.
It makes for an unexpected and pleasing end to a release which sees ears and fingers itching to go again within seconds of its close. There are a few rather special ska flavoured punksters around right now and as proven by Last Call, The Hostiles stand by their side.
Last Call is out now on Bubble Tea Records @ http://thehostiles.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 05/08/2016
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