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Album Review

With No Doubt and Sublime having dominated the pop airwaves in 1996, it wasn't too much of a stretch for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones to hope for similar success, even if their sound was louder and heavier overall — after all, they had been arguably the best-known ska band in the American underground for some time and had laid much of the groundwork for the style's commercial success. So the Bosstones took their time with Let's Face It, crafting a catchy, solidly written record with accessible mainstream production courtesy of longtime collaborator Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade. The results paid immediate dividends, with "The Impression That I Get" becoming a runaway smash on modern-rock radio and pushing the album into the Top 30 (it eventually went platinum). Some longtime fans complained that the band had toned down their manic metal tendencies too much in their push for mainstream acceptance, but really, Let's Face It simply draws more upon other influences the band had had all along. It's the Bosstones album most inspired by the British Two-Tone movement of the early '80s, when pop melodies and pleas for tolerance and equality were often as important as the grooves — and that's certainly the case here, as the band turns in probably their most substantive set of lyrics to date. There are a few punky hard rock numbers, too, and even if they don't quite have the hard-partying energy of past efforts in that vein, they are well-constructed songs that keep the album's momentum flowing. Even if the production is a tiny bit slick, and the playing time is rather short (a little over half an hour), it's still difficult to view Let's Face It as anything but a rousing success and easily one of the band's best albums.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A great deal of the groundwork for the mid- to late-'90s explosion of ska and ska-metal was laid by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who were one of the first bands to cross high-energy ska with hardcore punk and heavy metal and who also helped shift its tone toward testosterone-filled party music. The Bosstones built up a devoted cult following throughout their career, but their level of commercial success never quite matched that of more pop-oriented third wave ska bands, like No Doubt and...
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