Save Ferris - 'Checkered Past' (EP Review)

Save Ferris' return was really Monique Powell's brain child. From reading about her surgery, which could have cost her the ability to sing, she decided to return to fronting the successful 90s ska/punk band after its successful completion. Their cover of the song “Come on Eileen” is one of the standouts from that third wave of ska during which they also appeared in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. Now fifteen years later we're getting the aptly titled new EP 'Checkered Past'. The name of the EP is a reference to the ska image. The catch here is that some of the members of the band weren't interested in the reunion, and after some legal proceedings Powell was awarded the name and put together a new line-up for this EP, so the only original member on this EP is Powell. I was interested for two reasons when going into the release. I like those old Save Ferris albums and I was interested to hear what Powell had to offer and why she really wanted to push forward with a new era of the band.

'Checkered Past' is a different beast when compared to the previous material from the band. It feels more like Powell's show, as it probably should, but that's not to say the new members don't bring a solid set of skills and songs. They sound well accomplished and provide Powell a really good backdrop. The five songs blaze through in nice fashion and they feel breezy and fun. It has the things people really liked from the third wave of ska: horns, fast guitars, dub, and reggae influences. The horn work on the EP is performed nicely. I really liked it on the song "Golden Silence". I think Powell showcases some great vocal work. She has some really interesting funny, snarky, and at times poignant lyrics. Her performance on the EP is great. It sounds like she went into recording this giving it her all. "Do I Even Like You?" is a standout on the EP and a song I think fans could connect to that might become a new show favorite.

Yeah, this EP is seen by many as controversial due to the way it came about. At the same time if you're itching for some ska and want to hear one of the better singers from that ska wave give an extremely solid performance then this EP should get the job done. Powell wasn't the only reason Save Ferris was successful in the 90s, but she played a big part. I think her new version of Save Ferris is a good continuation of the band's sound and helps bring her and the band into this new time period in nice fashion. Even if this isn't a full fledged reunion but more of a new project I think this EP is well done and I'm liking it quite a bit.

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