One of punk’s most charming instigators, Neville Staple has periodically recorded as a solo artist since his days as both a member of the Specials and Fun Boy Three. Staple was but a fraction of either of those bands so that you could feel his influence only partially. On his full-length release,
Ska Crazy!, you get the unadulterated Staple, which forces his talents up front and center and reveals his harder, no-nonsense approach to other Caribbean music like mento and rocksteady.
Possibly one of the most slept-on albums in the last handful of years, Ska Crazy! is a collection of tightly spun, tunefully escapist pop (albeit one with a few socially conscious messages). Its thickly ruffled ska ensures a full dance floor and Staple interestingly opts to put his punk past to rest for much friendlier engagements.
Still holding fast to the two-tone sound that gave birth to an influential music and subculture in England,
Ska Crazy! also invites a certain bluesy twang into its fold; there is a certain Sergio Leone vibe to the proceedings which gives the music an added dimension of cinematic splendor. It is Staple’s vocals, however, that deliver this package in full with the pop music seal of approval. Crisp and melodious, his vocals accent the jaunty rhythms with an application that is carefree and effervescent. Cleopatra Records have done their part in promoting some of the most sidelined artists to have ever recorded music, and it is only a shame that Staple’s harmonic rush of ska-pop couldn’t get the radio push it truly deserved upon its initial release.