I dunno. Maybe reviewing a flexi is a weird idea as it’s a standalone thing. I still don’t get them: They wear out really fast; they’re vulnerable to damage and they don’t sound very good. They’re a novelty item and, in an era with fewer physical releases, somehow the most disposable format is on the rise?
Anyway, I wanted to cover Charlie Continental. I like his work with SPELLS and he’s put out a bunch of these singles on Snappy Little Numbers. I chose the newest, which in hindsight probably isn’t the most reflective of his catalogue given that this song is in the 2-tone style.
But here we go, 100-word intro aside. It’s like you’re reading a recipe or something the way I’m avoiding real content.
2-Tone. What more can I say? It’s a familiar driven by an up-tempo ska beat with minimal backing and lots of gang choruses. At this point Continental’s lead vocals are joined by members of SPELLS, The Bollweevils, and The Calgary Family Singers. It builds throughout, with a cathartic all-for-one vibe that fits the style perfectly -- the accompanying notes indicate that is why he chose this style in the first place. As Common Rider once said, “This is unity music, so lay your burden down.” It’s a social justice message with a fun side, just as any social uprising requires. By choosing a classic style, the song sounds like an anthem instead of a 2020 timestamp, which was a smooth move on Continental’s end.
An unattributed quote in the notes with this record states that Charlie Continental “is sometimes referred to as ‘The Punk Rock Jingle Machine,’” having composed for TV shows, podcasts, and advertising. Given the melodic hooks in SPELLS and a similar ear for getting in your head on this 1:46 jam, the verdict suggests it’s true.
Want to smile and jump around for a while -- maybe even sing-along on your first listen? It’s that kind of jam.
File under: Took longer to read than listen to.
Fun fact: Even the downloadable mp3 of the song sounds fuzzy, so you get the experience even if don’t have a record player.
7.7 / 10
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