“Plug in and tune up, it’s time to start playing,
Paul, you know he’s right on time,
No rhyming or reason to what we do,
And we do it so sublime.”
Those are lyrics—or, at least, my best attempt at transcribing them—from the title track of The Show, the new album by local party band Livitz Livitz. (“Paul” is presumably drummer Paul Emnas.) The word “sublime” could well be capitalized because that ’90s Long Beach ska-alt-rock band is a clear influence on Livitz Livitz. Sublime is one of those bands, like the Grateful Dead, that are neither as good as their devotees proclaim nor as bad as their detractors insist. They’re also one of those bands, again like the Dead, where their shitty fans might turn off many people who might otherwise enjoy the music.
That said, Sublime fans, shitty and otherwise, will find a lot to like about Livitz Livitz: the same laidback, easygoing melodicism, the same lowbrow frat-boy humor, the same unabashed admiration for their forbearers. The music is mostly Third Wave ska, with touches of reggae and California-style skate punk. Livitz Livitz attempt a cover of The Beatles’ “In My Life,” a bold move since it invites inevitable comparisons to the original. The cover actually isn’t half bad, though it’s quickly followed by a silly song about shaving your head ’cause you’re going bald.
It’s well recorded and mixed, with occasional moments of Spanish-flavored guitar and other surprises. The lyrics are mostly dumb fun stuff—beer bongs get multiple mentions—but the bottom line is if you’re a Sublime fan looking for some good-times music for getting stoned, drunk and/or laid, here you go.