Maybe Partying Will Help!

Have you heard? The A-Oks are set to release a new LP entitled “Maybe Partying Will Help!” For those unfamiliar with the A-Oks, their self- proclaimed “partycore” take on ska music is like no other. They hale from Denver Colorado and have been rocking the scene since 2008. Since that time, they have been hard at work; “Maybe Partying Will Help!” is their 4th release.

1. “Pick Your Battles”- “Maybe Partying Will Help!” starts with a scorching ska punk number. While the lyrics are a little disjointed at times, the blaring horns more than make up for that. Lace up your Chucks and hit the pit my friend! Grade: B+

2. “Beer Bong”-Raise your funnels for 2015’s frat boy anthem. Beer Bong is a catchy little number that you will stick inside your brain, like spilled beer on a dancefloor. After the hangover has worn off, you will still be singing this one on your drive to work Monday morning. Grade: A-

3. “New Beginnings”- “New beginnings is a fast and loose ska punk free for all. With quickly changing melodies, there is a lot going on here musically. Grade: B

4. “Dark and Disillusioned”- Hardcore meets danceable ska in this track. The horn section really sets the darker tone in this raw, aggressive song. Grade: B

5. “Exite-O-Max”- “Exite-O-Max will put a little pep in your step. This is probably one of the more poppy songs thus far. I dig it! Grade: A-

6. “Upside Down Girl”-I really enjoyed the vocals on this tune. If ever there was a radio-friendly song on this disc, this would be it. Grade: A-

7. “6669”- Highly danceable ska on this tune, created once again by the awesome horn section. .But don’t worry, with crunchy guitars, it still rocks as well. I love it! Grade: A

8. “Her Head on My Heart Strings”-Excellent ska punk with trading off of vocals. This is some great stuff right here! Grade: A

9. “Christmas in July”- This hill-billy ska song is a knee slappin’ good time. Once again, The A-Oks lay down a ‘can’t get this one out of my head’ sing-along tune. Nice work. Grade: B+

10. “Well, That Puts Things into Perspective”- While there is nothing new here, this is a solid pop/punk/ska number. Grade: B

11. “Thrash/Skank/Thrash”-Well, the name says it all. Even though the horns are loud and proud in this one, I’ve never been a big fan of thrash type songs. Sorry guys. Grade: C

12. “An Eight of June”-Mark really lets his singing chops shine on this number. Complete with backing vocals, this is a tad less aggressive than most of the other songs on the album. This is a change in pace from “ Thrash/Skank/Thrash” Grade: A-

13. “Drugs in My Face”-More bratty punk rock about snortin’ and smokin’ Grade: A-

14. “ 25 to Life”- The A-Oks finish strong, with this song which reminds me a lot what could be found in Less Than Jake’s set list, but with stronger horns. Grade: A-

Ska-punk fans rejoice! The A-Oks have managed to put out yet another solid effort in their growing catalog. Those of you that are fans of their previous work [‘Words Are Not For Eating (2010) and Funemployment Benefits (2012)] will find yourself right at home with this release. The overall feel of the album is that of a care-free beer-soaked frat party. In other words, the horns are blaring and the vocals are at times, crass and rowdy. It’s everything you would expect from this band. Although they stick mostly to their ‘partycore shtick’ there is still much variety throughout. The best example of this is found on “Christmas in July,” Personally, I enjoyed the songs where the reigns were tightened a little more, such as “Beer Bong,” “6669” and “An Eight of June” vs. the more ska run amok style found in “Pick Your Battles” and “Thrash/Skank/Trash.” All in all I really enjoyed this album, especially on repeat listens. If you have any interest in ska-punk, buying this is a no-brainer. Musically ‘Maybe Partying Will Help! Is a Mad Max in a sea of Driving Miss Daisies. Get ready for a hard, aggressive ride you will be glad you took !

Overall Grade: B+

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