Nearly five years after their previous effort, Spanish ska punk outfit SKA-P returns with a new album, 99%, recorded and produced once again by Tony Lopez, who has achieved a spectacular sound.
"99%" is a statement, a claim to stop the overwhelming oppression of our society. A wake up call to fight against all the speculators, looters, oppressors and liars, their music depicts the struggle of hopeless nations.
"99%" features 15 tracks with remarkable percussive work, guitars that find the perfect equilibrium between the strength of rock, the aggression of punk, the relaxation of Reggae and the rhythm of SKA. Seasoned by an outstanding and impressive horn section and a spectacular vocal performance: the SKA-P sound.
The Yorkshire Times:
They say that ignorance is bliss, but in the case of Ska-P, I just wish I had my eyes opened far earlier. When a promo CD for their latest album '99%' landed on my doorstep, I have to admit to having been slightly perturbed by the artwork. Though I try to not judge a book by its cover (or this case an album by its artwork), I have to concede that the cartoon depiction of medieval slaughter forced me to jump rather quickly to the conclusion that this album was not for me.
However, given that I try not to be a walking cliché myself (though I certainly seem to spouting a fair few this morning), I decided to give the record a go regardless. And I must say, this is a decision I far from regret.
For those not already in the know, Ska-P are one of Spain's most successful musical exports. The politically charged, anti-establishment explosion that defines their sonic success is far a cry from the more sultry, sexy sounds associated with the Iglesias senior and junior, or the awe-inspiring elegance of Caballe and undeniable power of Carreras, but that does not negate its contribution to the Spanish scene. First formed in 1994, Ska-P marked their most commercial success on home turf with their seventh studio album '99%', so could it be that this record breaks them in the UK too?
The simple answer is if only. Given the UK's distinct disliking of non-English language songs in the mainstream, Ska-P will always be viewed on these shores as world music. However, I urge you to not allow a language prejudice to stand in the way between you and a truly revelatory music experience.
'99%' is an anthemic riot that oozes optimistic addictiveness. Opening with the playful cacophony 'Full Gas', Ska-P waste no time at all in getting those heads shaking and shoulders bouncing. Bounding with relentless energy, Ska-P immediately hook in their listener and take them for a ride.
While the troupe move from teasing singalongs - 'Canto a la rebelion' and 'Oniomanos - to supercharged summer stomps - 'Ciudadano Papagayo' and 'Ali Baba' - they also offer fleeting moments of radio friendly fodder - notably the unforgettable 'Victoria' - which all results in one truly sensational listening experience.
(Rating - 5/5 Jeremy Williams, Arts Correspondent - The Yorkshire Times)