Crash and Burn

After five studio albums, it seems appropriate that the Dance Hall Crashers would release a live album, and this one, recorded at the Troubador in Los Angeles, finds the ska-pop-punk band whipping though an exhaustive setlist (25 songs in all).

The band zips through early tracks, from "Don't Wanna Behave" and "Queen for a Day" (RealAudio excerpt) off 1995's Lockjaw, to the recent "Cricket" and "Make Her Purr" from 1998's Purr. It's all peppy and fun, with the raucous "We Owe" (RealAudio excerpt) a delight, and the mix of punk and reggae on "Remember To Breathe" (RealAudio excerpt), showcasing the band's innovative ability to mix genres. (One big miss: the band's watered-down version of Tom Petty's "American Girl.")

DHC completists will want to snatch up this album (which features plenty of stage banter between co-frontwomen Elyse Rogers and Karina Denike, both of whom talk about body fluids and curse like truck drivers). However, it's ironic that although this is a live album, the energy of the band's live shows is largely absent. Songs are played tight and speedy, but there's little variation or improvisation here, and in the end The Live Album feels more like a studio affair.