VARIOUS ARTISTS: Dancehall Troops III: CD

Given the 7” record-type packaging, I was a little apprehensive when I picked this out of the pile. With a name like “Dancehall Troops,” I had visions of a single filled with piss-poor ska-punk drivel from a band that probably never heard of Desmond Dekker. Well, it ain’t any such thing. What it is, is a CD compilation featuring some of the finest punk in a number of permutations currently making the rounds. Of the thirty-three tracks collected here—courtesy of Red Invasion, the Cute Lepers, The Handgrenade Hearts, Suicide Dogs, Sick Fits, The Steaknives, Soda Pop Kids, Fishnet Stalkers, The Main, Black Beauties, and more, much of which is either heretofore unreleased or available only on vinyl—nary a one dips lower than “pretty danged good,” and makes for quite an impressive mix tape for those who don’t wanna work to hard at making one of their own. Given the bad shape of the compilation in recent history, it’s nice to hear one so consistently strong. Best of all, there ain’t a ska punk tune in sight. Someone put some quality work into compiling this, it shows, and that makes all the difference.

 –jimmy (www.nofrontteeth.net)