Third wave ska punk band Five Iron Frenzy returned in 2013 after a ten-year hiatus with Engine of a Million Plots. It is an album wonderfully nostalgic, but one that is a refreshing repaving of an old road.
That old road, third wave, has seen a remarkable rekindling over the last few years, most notably from their “old guard” of established acts still breathing the fire they did when they first burst on to their respective musical landscapes. Five Iron Frenzy, perhaps slightly less on the forefront than say Less than Jake or the Mighty Mighty Bosstones were during their height of popularity, had been one of the more consistent acts. Their albums were always good, in many ways. My most compelling recollection was their album Our Newest Album Ever!, a sprightly, homely at times, wind in your hair ska/punk album that dug deep into the core of what it was growing up during these times.
Now more than a decade removed from their last output, Five Iron Frenzy continue their remarkable track record with songs still entrenched in their love of ska, rock and punk, while being in tune with the contemporary world around them. The album’s musical output is as strong as ever; with tracks like the up-tempo “We Own The Skies”, which to me, while seeped in deep personal meaning for songwriter Reese Roper, evokes a kind of escape from life’s sometimes difficult turns.
If you read the explanation of the song, along with why Roper wrote it, you will realise a certain gravity to it. Born from difficult circumstances, it is like the song is the belief that you can still feel alive when you’re most vulnerable. A call or prayer as it were, to find comfort in your current circumstances.
In a way driving is a little like that- a temporary escape, a moment of the bigger picture where you can still feel alive despite it.
You can find more Five Iron Frenzy, including places where to buy their music, on their website. I would highly recommend their 2013 album mentioned above, and my personal favourite, 1998’s Our Newest Album Ever!