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The Specs-Declaration of Independence

thespecsBand Name: The Specs
Album Name: Declaration of Independence
Best Element: Strong songwriting and huge choruses
Genre: Ska-friendly Punk
Label Name: n/a
Band E-mail:

I never thought I would say this, but it was actually refreshing to hear a ska band while reviewing records this month. Well, at least a band with horns. You see, the Specs are cut from the same cloth as bands like Less Than Jake or The Prizefighter, taking many quos from the former and concocting a fierce brand of horn-laced punk that would fit right in with a mix tape of Catch 22, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Big D and The Kids Table.

What puts the Specs a step above the rest of the terminal ska scene is the strong songwriting and huge choruses that, again, remind me of Less Than Jake during the Hello Rockview era. Interestingly enough, there are no actual ska parts with quick clean-guitar upstroke and walking bass lines. Instead, the songs consist of strong, roaring riffs and tight rhythm while the horns add texture. The band relies mostly on the pure sugar energy that bands like Fall Out Boy usually use in high doses. It’s obvious that the Specs are a party band that mainly wants to have a good time and have the audience to do the same. Hell, there’s even a cover of the song “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul for the sake of fun. I’ve come to mostly hate ironic covers by punk bands, but I found myself enjoying this one because it remained what it was meant to be: a fun cover.

The only criticism I might have is in the lyrics that sometimes border on amateur, but in a band that is meant to be more of a party and less of a series of life lessons, it really doesn’t matter. I can definitely see this band getting bigger in the ska scene and they get extra points in my book for playing a style of music (ska friendly punk) that is absolutely out of style at this point.