If someone asked you to name a song by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, odds are in favor of you saying “Zoot Suit Riot,” arguably the only song this band has been known for despite a varied number of genres they have dipped their hands into. Said track was the feature of a swing-based disc for the group, and Skaboy JFK focuses on ska—if that was not already apparent. With four previously unreleased tracks, the collection is a solid retrospective of sorts that shows a side of the band some people still might not know exists. But then again, most of these tracks don’t even get close to the catchiness or staying power of “Zoot Suit Riot,” so maybe you’ll just be better off without this.
The title track kicks us in the direction of some good old run-of-the-mill ska, though the track is pretty bare in terms of melody and instrumentation—unfortunately causing for a energy-lacking opener. “Hi and Lo” hits a similar bump, but is a definite improvement with the addition of the occasional gritty guitar riff. “Sockable Face Club” sticks out as a upbeat tune with flairs of keys and spot-on horn parts. “Cosa Nostra” starts off slow with more of a reggae feel, hinging on the vocals to drive most of the track while the horns add a dirty, yet catchy melody here and there for one of the more memorable moments of the disc. “2:29” follows a reggae feel as well, staying away from the faster tempos for heavier percussion instrumentation and relaxing songwriting, which works quite well despite the leaning towards quicker paced arrangements like the disc-ending “Say it to My Face,” which reminds us that solid ska isn’t exactly anything special.
Sure, hardcore fans of the group will appreciate the collection of newer tracks to add to their catalog, but what about everyone else? To be honest, everyone is better off just knowing this band as the guys who did that one song, though it is nice to know they were more than just a swing-revival band. [By: Jason Gardner]
Release Date: September 29, 2009