Cover   

Our Newest Album Ever! 
Five Iron Frenzy 
5 Minute Walk/Sarabellum 

The "Ska Against Racism" tour will kick off this spring with a collection of popular ska bands travelling around the country. It promises to be a well-attended festival with a long list of big-name bands. On the tour, the band Five Iron Frenzy is the lone representative of the growing pool of Christian ska as one of the hottest groups this year with their sophomore record, Our Newest Album Ever!. Full of catchy melodies and bouncy music, this record has taken off proving that FIF's popularity is well-deserved. 

The eight talented musicians that make up this festive frenzy have put together a fine third-wave ska record. With two guitarists, Micah Ortega and Scott Kerr, the rhythm section of Keith Hoerig on bass and Andrew Verdecchio at the drums, Dennis Culp on trombone, Jeff (the girl) Ortega on sax, Brad Dunham playing trumpet, and Reese Roper handling the lead vocals, Five Iron Frenzy has put down some peppy, powerful tracks. Even though the production seems a little muddled to me, the songs's meanings come through loud and clear. To see where the band's heart is at, look at songs like "Second Season," "Suckerpunch" (the latest hit), and these lyrics from the last song on the album, 
"Every New Day": 

    Dear Father, I need you, your strength 
    my heart to mend. I want to fly higher, 
    every new day again. 
    ...Jesus Christ, light of the world burning bright within our hearts forever. 
    Freedom means love without conditions, without beginning or an end. 
    Here's my heart, let it be forever Your's, 
    only You can make every new day seem so new.
To see their sense of humor, look at songs like "Where Is Micah?" and "Oh, Canada." Sometimes the band's heart and humor meet, like in these lyrics from one of my favorites off of the record, "Superpowers": 
Heart... 
    I wanted to be famous, now I want to take it back. 
    Don't want to rock the mic, don't want to meet the pope. 
    I just want to share with you, how we got this peace and hope." 
     
Humor...(one of my favorite lines) 
    "Sometimes we have a deadline for writing our songs. 
    Five minutes left to write this one. 
    La 
    la, la 
    la, la, la, la.
This record is mostly third-wave ska, with lots of ska rhythms and rock guitars; but as I listened I noticed that some of the songs are barely ska at all. There is lots of rock and roll, swing, and Chicago-style pop in these twelve songs, but there is plenty of ska energy for the diehard rudie. A fan can skank to his or her little heart's content in front of Five Iron! The package art work is very cool as done by Doug TenNapel, and the music inside is lots of fun. If you see the guys at the "Ska Against Racism" tour be sure to say a prayer for them--and then get ready to dance to the beat! 

By Tony LaFianza 

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What can you say about a band that has the good taste to have TenNapel of Neverhood fame design their cover?  They sure better have something good to go with it. Five Iron Frenzy has always been a fun, energetic band and Our Newest Album Ever!, their second album, seems to carry on that tradition. The music is similar to the first album, Upbeats and Downbeats -- Five Iron Frenzy considers themselves to be ska-core, which usually combines ska with punk rock, pop, or other styles of music. 

"Handbook for the Sellout," "Where is Micah," and "Superpowers" are humorous looks at the band which indicate fame may not be all it's cracked up to be. For example, as "Superpowers" says: 

    Eight people in a stinky van, 
    A couple more couldn't hurt. 
    Eat some food off the floor. 
    I've developed a taste for bread mold. 
    Ride around in a van, 
    Don't take a shower for six weeks and... 
    We've been given superpowers... 
    I once wanted to be famous, 
    Now I want to take it back.
Then, there are the songs that directly point us to God, such as a song with the unlikely title of "Suckerpunch":  
    A Song Sung for underdogs, 
    for all the left out. A flag  
    flying for losers, somewhere 
    in the Heavens. The God of  
    ever-lasting comfort, 
    believed in me, loved me 
    when I was faithless, he still 
    died for me.
A lot of the songs, like "Blue Comb '78," seem silly, but don't be led astray. Hidden under the silliest lyrics are pearls of wisdom which, in my opinion, keep this band heads above its fellow ska bands. 

By Shari Lloyd 

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