If you’ve ever thrown your elbows around to the beats of the third wave or indulged in a career as a ska fan in this country, you’d have skanked your fancy little pants to the Planet Smashers at some point. And though they admit to being personally responsible for Tofino becoming overrun with tourists, it’s hard to hold it against such a dedicated group of juveniles.
A staple of the Canadian punk and ska scene now for 20 years, the Montreal-based band has just put out their seventh album, Mixed Messages. Having stayed impressively true to the sound and style they first harnessed back in 1994, Mixed Messages continues to keep it bouncy and focus on the party.
The Planet Smashers have maintained an energy that would trump any 40-year-old to figure out. True to form, the first track on the record is called “Never Die Old” and is a bumpin’ ode to not being able to get out of aging. Front man Matt Collyer makes the point that “the Smashers have always been about having fun, and even though we’re ‘older’ we still want to party! The only big difference is that these days we play less shows, ’cause we’re less ‘conditioned’ than before.”
That’s not something you’d know if you were just hearing this band for the first time. Tracks like “You Guys Are Assholes, Let’s Party” and “What’s Your Problem” contain the same raucous rhythms and teenaged contrarian attitudes you’d have found on their first records. Hailing from a tradition closely related to punk rock, and wrought with stick-it-to-the-man lyrics, the Smashers have never gotten directly political. Given this, I asked Collyer if the band’s ultimate statement, throughout all the partying, is its faithfulness to a genre that’s inherently in the margins. His answer? “Yes.”
The Planet Smashers play the Rickshaw Theatre April 17th.
By Matt Coté