City Paper is not for tourists
Ska’s first wave took place in mid-’60s Jamaica, its second in late-’70s Britain. Now, on Ska: The Third Wave, 110 bands endeavor to keep the Zeitgeist of the Skatalites and the Specials alive. Included are Mephiskapheles’ slow-then-uptempo “Saba,” which contains the obligatory rolling sax, trumpet, and trombone solos, and Pie Tasters’ “Factory Concerto,” a swingy instrumental with a big band sound that includes native drums and raw, muted trumpets. The bands on this collection do not try to duplicate the sound of their more primitive forebears, and some actually manage fresh interpretations of traditional ska, most notably Dance Hall Crashers’ distortion- propelled “Othello” and the Insteps’ “Shotgun Jimmy,” which features stylishly slurred horns. The anthology misses its mark when it strays too far outside the genre’s boundaries, as in the case of the Scofflaws’ jazz-bluesy “After the Lights Go Down.” Yet the same band’s “William Shatner,” a reggae-based composition, is a perfectly respectable track.