I've always said that you wouldn't really get 2 Skinnee J's if you didn't see them live. But with their last two albums, Volumizer, and now the new album Sexy Karate, they've put their essence onto tape, for all to hear. Quite the unique sound and feeling, the J's rhyme and sing over hard rock and catchy synths, with tight drums and phat beats. Being one of the most inventive and courageous of bands, they've managed to grow and expand their sound continuously without straying from their mission: bringing the rock and skills along with the message of good will and righteousness with a clever and fun spin.
The first track, "Get in the Van," at first is an ode to bands packing in their equipment, and taking a chance traveling around to play shows for the sheer love. But, the rhymes hint at something bigger: taking a chance in general, standing up and doing something you believe in, no matter what others say. "One Summer" is happy, peppy, beat-filled song filled with horns and bass-driven lines, accompanied by a brief sitar-like solo by Lance Rockworthy. Special J and J Guevera continue to excel in their rhyme skills, trading quick and complicated rhymes back and forth without skipping a beat.
"Who Wants This?" is definitely one of the standout tracks. With perfectly fitted "keytar" lines by Stevie Spice, and tricky bass lines form Eddie Eyeball, the chorus rages in a defiant chant against corruption and unrighteousness. And right afterwards, the dreamy track "Inside my Room," is a little song about wondering and pondering while being in one's retreat of their room.
"I Can't Hear You" blasts right back into beat-filled heaviness, proclaiming the J's as a force to be reckoned with. Filled with boasts and brags, it's definitely a rocking song, asking the audience to get loud. And a song like "Change the World" takes a rocking melody, and backs it up with heavy drums and lyrics that demand the listener to stand up and get into it.
Sexy Karate is a great record, showing exactly what the J's are all about. Using the unorthodox combination of instruments, and singing and rhyming, they carve out their own unique niche that can't be succinctly described. "Next Big Thing" is possible the best track on the album. It's got everything that the J's do best: amazing rhymes, catchy vocals in the chorus, instruments used to their full potential, and the combination of drums and beats. That might sound like it's too much, but the music speaks for itself: it's fun, it's intelligent, and it's just damn good.
Tom Fraher is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.