Ska-core band, The Insyderz hasn't released an album in nine years, but thanks to Kickstarter, the band has finally returned with their sixth studio record, The Sinner's Songbook. The Insyderz are the first of the "big three" ska bands in the Christian scene (The O.C. Supertones and Five Iron Frenzy would be the other two) to release a comeback album after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The group returns behind Joe Yerke's signature raspy vocals with crunchy guitars and blaring horns.
The album starts with what sounds like a dark song in "Angel of Death." More than anything, the message is a reminder to be prepared for eternity at all times; you never know when your time will come. Skipping ahead two songs to the title track will land you on the most exciting part of the album. "The Sinner's Songbook" starts with Joe's vocals, but gives way to Reese Roper of Five Iron in the third verse and subsequent choruses. If Reese isn't enough for you, the bridge features Supertones' Matt "Mojo" Morginsky laying down a hip-hop vocal section typical of the vocalist.
The record also features plenty of expected material from The Insyderz such as "Send the Fire!" (Featuring a Ramones "Hey-ho let's go" throughout), "We Come in Peace," "Like Drawing Blood From a Baby" and "Patron Saints of the Underdogs." On the flip side though, the guys bring some slower, and more unexpected, material such as the moving "The Dirty Work," the short "Tension Prayer" interlude, and the Irish folk inspired "The Snake." Joe and company also add two covers to the mix with Jackie DeShannon's often covered "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" and 80's Catholic pop band Sonseed's "Jesus is a Friend of Mine." Both covers turn out to be fun and catchy, but the biggest misstep on the album has to be with the "dance" song "The Insyderz Shuffle." The track falls flat and begs to be skipped after a single listen. It's pretty doubtful you'll want this song played at your wedding reception or next party.
While it's great to have The Insyderz back, the long awaited new album, The Sinner's Songbook, doesn't have quite the power that Fight of My Life (1998) had, yet it does outperform Soundtrack to Revolution (2003). There are enough songs for both Insyderz and ska fans to enjoy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that The Sinner's Songbook will be the weakest of the "big three's" return albums. Go pick up The Insyderz latest and skank until your heart is content; just don't expect to be blown away with the record as a whole.- Review date: 11/10/12, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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