Victims Of Circumstance – Live In Japan!

By Andy

Want to know what VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCE sound like? Basically, the Florida band would sit perfectly on this year’s Slam Dunk Festival main stage, alongside the likes of Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger. Yep, this is unashamed 90s style ska-punk. That being said, whether you like the genre will determine whether you enjoy the band.

‘Live In Japan!’ is, you guessed it, a live album recorded in Japan – Osaka on the main island of Honshū, to be specific. It’s also plays as a recap of 2009’s ‘Roll The Dice’ album with all but two tracks being pulled from that previous record. Recording-wise it’s pretty standard, sounding rougher than its studio equivalent but not quite horrible cell phone quality. You get the idea. Inside the gig it’s probably hot, sweaty and fun, but none of this transfers through your speakers. This isn’t as much a dig at ‘Live In Japan!’ as it is live albums in general.

With regards to songs, VOC are decent enough. The resemblance to fellow Floridians, Less Than Jake is impossible not to make, not only in terms of horns and upstrokes but also the fact that vocalist Michael Smyth sounds a dead ringer for Chris Demakes. ‘This Riot Used To Be A Party’ is the big, anthemic, skank-inducing, party number. ‘Tiny Sleeves’ has that token mellow opening that ends up throttling along. It’s all comfortably familiar sounding stuff.

Basically, ‘Live In Japan!’ does a good job at introducing VOC but you’d probably do better to check out ‘Roll The Dice’, which for production values alone is worth an extra half star. Having said that, this may well be one of those bands that excels in a live setting. Good news: Victims Of Circumstance debut on UK shores this June.


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