Supertones Strike Back 
Artist: The Orange County Supertones 
Label: BEC Recordings 
These seven suit and tie-wearing guys are making big waves with their  brand of ska music!  The Supertones out-draw many of the day's top secular ska bands' shows.  Their video has been played on MTV, and they  played live on an MTV-produced show called "Oddville," and Comedy Central's "Viva Variety." The title song, "Supertones Strike Back," with the message that God loves them, was broadcast into millions of young viewers heads:  

    Look less at me and look more to Christ 
    Grace has saved me and his grace will suffice 
    So I jump for Jesus who frees us 
    Let's get dumb like Beavis, I don't care who sees us 
    We want this whole band to be a big love letter 
    So we play the ska and it makes you feel better 
    God's got love for us so we got love for you 
    It's your life so what you wanna do?"
This band and this record is all about loving God with all your soul, all your mind, and all your dancing, jumping, skanking body. Matt, Jason, Tony, Darren, Dave, Kevin, and Dan encourage young believers to stay close to God and to be bold with their faith. The guys tell everyone within ear shot that they matter to God, and "He cares for you like no one else."  Another reocurring theme throughout the record is that we come to God on His terms.  As beggars, we come to Him with nothing until He takes us and makes us who He wants us to be by His amazing grace.  The message is bold and open, yet presented in such an infectious vehicle that millions are hearing it, and loving it.  
The songs and the music are so good, with some truly sublime ska on this cd.  It seems like the Supertones have been doing their homework, possibly digging up some Specials music, and maybe some Madness from around 1980.  The music this time is a hybrid of two-tone and third wave ska.  The Supertones are masters at the combination.  The band's first record, Adventures of the O.C. Supertones, was all third wave ska. They have become a bigger, better Supertones this time out.  Nearly every song has elements of both types of ska.  Most songs start with the quieter, two-tone blend of organ and bass with the trebly guitar on the upbeat, but then kick into high gear at some point with an energetic brass section and distortion guitar.  The production by Steve Kravac is very good too, far better than the debut.  I can hear the horns and the rest of the band clearly here, which is important (and not always done right on ska records, by the way).  
A prime example of the new style is the latest hit off of the CD, "Resolution"  The song mixes beautifully the two styles of ska with a bouncy bass line and then driving horns and guitar at the chorus.  The song is a testimony of someone who wants to get back to a relationship with God like they once had.  The lyric says:  
    I will make a change today 
    Purge my mind of mud and mire 
    Cast all my gods away and  
    I am brand new today. I make my resolution.
Resolution" is followed by another great song (although one of the most third wave) called "Perseverance of the Saints."  It declares the resolute devotion of the singer to the Lord, and his determination to speak the name of Jesus always, even on his death bed with his last breath.  There are so many favorites on this album it's hard to push the stop button while it's playing, because I'm too busy bouncing around the living room.  
So you want to know what the ska hype is about?  Pick up this one and you'll know.-----Tony LaFianza