Review: 6 Pack Deep Wake Up (self-released)

Ska offers a number of opportunities that other brands of music don’t. The tradition behind it, Jamaican calypso bands interpreting Sixties music from radio stations in the Southern U.S., lends itself to hybridization. 6 Pack Deep are participants of a fourth wave of ska groups, absorbing everything from jazz to rap to metal into a hyperactive tangle of interlocking horns and thumping beats, a prime example being “Crak Rox (Sux).” The problem with modern ska, however, lies in the non-ska parts of the equation, and 6 Pack Deep short-circuits by overemphasizing vocals and uninspired mall-punk lyrics when its intricate instrumentation could’ve shined. Its stabs at humor, namely the medley piece “Bar-B-Q,” come off as sophomoric, and sure, maybe that’s the point, but ska has a tradition of mixing humor and heavier topics effectively. It is something a band with tight musicianship like 6 Pack Deep should try. myspace.com/6pd

Recommended if you like: Mighty Mighty Bosstones, They Might Be Giants, the Deuce Bigalow movies

Essential tracks: “Wake Up,” “Chuck Tuna”