Wolfman – The Liptones

Wolfman the Liptones

I was a bit hesitant to review Wolfman by the Liptones at first. It might be good to know where I come from in relation to Ska before we get any further into this. I jumped on the ska-wagon pretty late, and with bands with heavy punk-influences such as Less Than Jake. I think Jackknife to a Swan is The Mighty Mighty Bosstones best album and that Rockers Delight by Monster is the best ska-album made by a Swedish ska-band. My taste in Ska has always been heavily punk influenced, and therefore I debated whether to write about this release at all. But I decided to give you my thoughts anyway, but keep the above in mind.

I’ve enjoyed the Liptones earliest records, but haven’t listened much to their last two releases. It’s pretty much clear right from the first track on Wolfman, a chill instrumental tune, that this record will be a bit different from the early offerings from this band. This is a band that has decided to explore their musical ska-roots much more than has previous been the case. There might be a big shift for me as it’s gone nearly 12 years from the latest album I got into (In English), but the Liptones loses me a bit with the chosen musical direction on this one.

It’s a much more laid back experience listening to this record. Leaning more into the 2-tone ska of their early influences, the tempo has a mid-tempo ska-feel throughout. It’s nothing wrong with that, an if you’re a fan of that kind of ska you’ll find a lot of good tunes on this one. With that said, I miss some of the energy that the band has showed on early records. It’s still very well played and composed, has cool bass-lines and a good horn-section, but it lacks something that get me really hooked. The record is a nice listen, but it could have gone with some more changes in tempo.

Lyrically it’s solid. Seeing the record and the title I was a bit worried that it was gonna be a horror themed record. That is not entirely the case, although there are some songs that leans into those themes to some extent. The overall feeling is a bit melancholic, don’t expect to get that uplifting ska-vibe all the way through here.

In the end the Liptones Wolfman might not be a record entirely for me, but that doesn’t take away the fact that there’s some solid craftsmanship on here, and fans of the 2-tone ska wave will surely find something to enjoy here. It’s also nice that the Liptones keeps bringing some ska-tunes to the Swedish musical scene, there’s not too much of that nowadays. The vinyl release is also stellar and nicely put together, and keep in mind that I only focused on the half with the new tracks, there is a whole live-record with some of the classics from this band on here as well.