The Skiffle Players is Cass McCombs, Neal Casal, Farmer Dave Scher, Dan Horne and Aaron Sperske. Their second full-length LP, ‘SKIFF’ on the West Coast record label, Spiritual Pajamas, is a new direction for band. Now, they all sing and write. There is NO LEADER.
Recorded at Infinitespin Recorders in Van Nuys CA, with engineer Matt “Linny” Linesch, ‘SKIFF’ begins with a bold opening; the Farmer Dave penned “Cara,” which offers heavy information for the soul. Then, into classic Cass insanity on “Local Boy,” a wild ride on the run from the cops. Third is a touching tribute to a bygone companion entitled, “Miss It When It’s Gone,” written and led by Neal.
The revolving perspective of ‘SKIFF’ continues to bounce around, continuing to reinvent itself, with childlike fervor and inspiration. In that, it is deeply subversive. For there is nothing to accomplish, but solely the ability to transform and imagine.
The album continues to unfold back to Cass with a satire on justice, “The Law Offices of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe.” From the saloon “Long Horns, Long Necks, Long Legs,” to the rainforest “Herbamera.” Neal blasts in again handling vocals on Cass’ sun-bleached rambler, “Los Angeles Alleyway.” Farmer Dave’s “Skiffleman” “sings a song for everyone.” Cass plays with memory in a song about coming of age in the Bay Area called “Oakland Scottish Rite Temple Waltz.” Penultimately, “Santa Fe,” an elliptical broadside about materialism and waste. SKIFF concludes by pushing off again, out into the familiar waters of a traditional skiffle number, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” each member taking a perhaps all-too casual solo.
This is music for the sake of music at its finest. It is also refreshingly contradictory. Irreverent and mystical. Deeply personal and communal. Traditional and profane. The ever revolving and disintegrating ship known as ‘SKIFF.’