Sound — 10
The sound of Streetlight Manifesto is just fantastic. It's ska, but it's ska as you've never heard it before (except possibly from Catch 22). The sound is earthy and folky as well as being melodic and highly singable. When I first heard the album I noticed several latin American and possibly Eastern European influences, the harmonies used are very minor and seem to have a large basis in folk music. They love a minor key, and songs such as 'A Moment Of Silence' and 'Everything Goes Numb' showcase this. But they can also write a good major key song, for example the excellent 'Point/Counterpoint' and 'The Saddest Song'. The trumpeter on this album is excellent and plays in a high register, as is the saxophonist. The drummer is also notable, and the bassist has some cracking basslines.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are what make this album really great. Once you get used to the speed of light they are sung at and really listen, you can tell the effort put in to make them rhyme and still make sense and sound great. 'Everything Goes Numb' has excellent lyrics once you can make them out, as does 'A Moment Of Silence'. 'A Better Place A Better Time' is written more like a stream of consciousness, but it's brilliant. The singer isn't half bad either, although he can sound a little drunk sometimes.
Overall Impression — 10
When I first heard Streetlight, I thought they were the business and I still do. They have pretty much stayed in my stereo. My favourite song is 'A Moment Of Silence', just because the pure musicianship in that song is incredible. 'A Better Place A Better Time' also stands out. 'Point/Counterpoint' is so fun to sing along to, and 'Everything Goes Numb' is good to trumpet to. Streetlight have so much energy and they really groove. If you only ever buy one ska/alternative album, buy this one.