Album Review :
A Billion Ernies "Stop Calling Us Ska"

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Artist: A Billion Ernies
Title “Stop Calling Us Ska”
Label: Snapdragon Records
Review by: Brandon Jones

Tracklisting:
1. Effect of the Scene
2. All For The Money
3. Stop Calling Us Ska
4. Zelda Theme Song
5. This Time Around
6. TWH
7. Go Karate 2
8. Sparta Hates Her Job
9. Persecution
10. Anonymous

Wow, where do I begin. Describing this cd accurately is like trying to solve a calculous problem with your eyes closed. Tough I might say and it doesnt get any easier for me to try and correctly state my feelings about the project. Yeah this is one tough cookie. I’ll keep it straight. You have never heard a band like this in your life, I guarantee it. “Stop Calling Us Ska” is chalk full of chaotic prone anthems about life in scene politics and the effects of such. This is pure undiluted chaos mixed with a haunting beauty that is instantly attracting. Fist in the air anthems sure to bring a smile to any face of the casual hardcore or screamo fan! What? Yeah so what, I’m not the best with genre classifications but you get the point right? Anyway, what about the rest of the album?

The album begins with the rousing hardcore fist pumper, “Effect of the Scene” inter spersed with HORNS. NO WAY! Yes, I said horns. That is where the fun and orginality of the album begins. Next up is “All For the Money” with it’s tongue in cheek humor poking fun at scene kids and their desire to look cool for the purpose of getting “signed”. It starts out with ska upbeats but immediately blasts into a full on scream induced attack. The title track “Stop Calling Us Ska” is up next with it’s blasting horn section, upbeats, and full on chaotic screaming. The gentle moments arise leading you into happy fuzzy place but then blasts you away yet again with the screams. The rest of the tracks follow suit into this same upbeat blast horn attack. Now let’s talk about originality…

I’ll say this one more time, I have never heard a band quite like A Billion Ernies before in my life. Imagine pure screamo mixed with the intensity of hardcore and filled with a healthy ounce of skacore to even it all out. Doesn’t make sense yet? Okay I’ll break this down….Imagine Dillinger Escape Plan is mixed with Blood Brothers and Showbread, then doused with a heap of Five Iron Frenzy. In fact, I hate to use comparisons but there are several moments that recall Five Iron Frenzy though without all the silly stuff. Remember “Fistful of Sand” by Five Iron Frenzy? Yeah, that about gets close to some of this stuff.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable album for me from start to finish and I can’t help but to become an instant fan. Though the album does have a few downside qualities such as less than stellar production, but the intensity makes up for that. There are also no lyrics included,¬†which for me as a reviewer is a pet peeve. I hate having no lyrics. But that’s cool, I can sort of understand where they are coming from. I did find the cd layout/artwork to be a cool element. It has a comic book vibe even if it is only a 4 panel cd. In conclusion, this will be either a hit or miss record for most of you. You’ll either love it to death or despise it. You have give them props however for their ingenuity, passion, and musicianship. At least give this band a listen and you’ll see what sets them apart as a group and as individuals.

Score: 7/10
Recommendation: Listen first online, then buy.

Similar to: Showbread, Dillinger Escape Plan, Blood Brothers, Big D and The Kids Table, Five Iron Frenzy

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