Review: Skankin' Pickle

SKANKIN PICKLE "Sing Along With..." LP

Skankin’ Pickle
Sing Along with... (Asian Man Records [Reissue])

When I procured the Sing Along with... reissue, I thought it would be a nice stroll down memory lane. I would listen to it once, file it away in my collection, and take it out on the days I most yearned to feel the excitement and joy that my 15 year old self experienced when I first bought this CD twenty years ago at Wax Trax (immediately after seeing the band in 1995 at the Ogden opening for Sublime—who I didn’t see because my parents picked me up early). But that’s not happened. I actually liked the songs and enjoyed the experience. Maybe I’m older now and can admit my penchant for ska despite the protestations of all my youth crew friends (who spent the ‘90s karate kicking the air while everyone else tried to watch the show) and my punk-only friends (who hate everything, including most punk). Apparently, once you’re no longer concerned with being cool, you can start liking ska again. And let’s be honest, for all the hate it inspired, the genre was really all about acting goofy and dancing. What was wrong with that? Anyway, the members of Skankin’ Pickle were among the pioneers of the third wave of ska that became popular in the mid to late ‘90s. The group released four albums, including Sing Along With...—the pinnacle of its career in many ways. Twenty years on, the music is fun, humorous, and full of incessant energy—more or less the opposite of the dour indie rock that dominates public and college radio waves. Songs like “Rotten Banana Legs,” “I’m in Love with a Girl Named Spike,” and “Pabu Boy” brim with feverish, gleeful intensity that incites the titular dance whether or not one is in the presence of pickled cucumbers. More than just a exercise in nostalgia, the reissue is a whole hell of a lot of fun.