Streetlight Manifesto – Keasby Nights

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Streetlight Manifesto

Keasby Nights - Victory Records

So you open the brand new CD, you flip through the artwork and you see: “There is absolutely no way of explaining the existence of the record you now hold in your hands without somehow offending, infuriating, confusion or alienating certain parties, so we won’t even try. Please enjoy this for what it is.” So you’re confused, you think it’s just Streetlight Manifesto‘s brand new album, and in a way you’re right, but it’s also so much more.

In fact, it is a complete re-recording of Catch 22‘s break out 1998 album Keasbey Nights. But eight years after the original release, is it still prominent and worth buying? The answer to that is a definite yes. No matter what, every ska fan should own a copy of Keasbey Nights, be it the original Catch 22 version of this new re-recorded version by Streetlight Manifesto – the question now becomes which one should you buy?

Both have their positives and negatives aspects, and both have certain similarities. Since half of Streetlight Manifesto was in Catch 22 back in 1998, you still get the same musicians. This means that you don’t lost Tomas Kalnoky’s signature vocal style, which would easily ruin the album if it wasn’t there. You still get his gruff vocals, only it’s with better annunciation for certain parts so you can decipher the lyrics without a lyrics booklet beside you.

The entire album is much smoother, it’s produced better which both helps and hinders the album. There was something about the pure raw aspect of the original that I love, but the extra producing does make the music sound much clearer on the re-recording. There’s many little aspects of the music that stick out as huge changes between the two albums too. The little guitar solo in Kristina She Don’t Know I Exist is much more prominent, as is the mellow opening to Giving Up, Giving In. There’s an extended verse of the solid opener, Dear Sergio, and while the instrumental Riding The Fourth Wave still carries the basic structure, it’s around ten seconds longer with a very different rhythm section in it. They also got rid of some of the chaoticness at the end of Keasbey Nights, which is disappointing for me since I loved that part.

Of course,the biggest change is with 1234 1234. At the end, where they used to list off their thank you’s, they now have a computer generated voice explaining the existence of the album. It is hinted that there were plans to re-release Catch 22‘s of the album untouched sonically with flashy new artwork so the same kids go out and buy it. Instead of letting them do that, Kalnoky and his band went back into the studio to re-record it, giving it a little extra flare so that if someone does go out and buy it again, they aren’t getting the exact same album.

So which one should you get? That’s a hard question, they both have their positive and negative aspects. When it comes down to it, Keasbey Nights as performed by Streetlight Manifesto is a great CD. So whatever you call it, a re-release, a re-recording, a rip off, a money maker, or musicians returning to perfect their album, it doesn’t matter, because as the computerized voice says “whatever you want to call it, it will piss people off, and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.”