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A Magazine for Sheffield

Quick Sin Jukebox

This pre-Tramlines release from the Cool Beans collective promises all the fuss, camaraderie and candid attitude you’d expect from a self confessed ska-punk band. Sheffield’s Smiling Ivy resemble Madness and The Specials but with more modern day attack, intensity and nonchalance. Ska documented the skinhead subculture and a time in 70s Britain when racial tensions were high. What Dan Hobson and his bandmates have achieved is comparable to the straightforward and socially savvy distinctions surrounding the genre but with added playfulness and northern charm.

‘Back in 04’ and ‘Private Dreams’ stand out most for me – the former for its instantly catchy brass section and humorous lyrics, and the latter for how yielding the spoken sample feels layered over a simple dub reggae instrumental. The band openly and intelligently address certain aspects of popular culture, sexual explorations, drugs and needless TV personalities in tracks like ‘Lab Rats’, ‘Let Loose’ and ‘Phenomenon’.

Smiling Ivy offer a faultless marriage of 2 Tone and third wave ska punk with every bit of brazen enthusiasm. They have a certain ability to accommodate each other’s instruments whilst sounding authentic and up-tempo and still managing to address serious subject matters. The bottom line is that their music is entertaining, their opinions are valid are they seem to be having a bloody good time doing it.

Emma Louise Milton