Pama International comes to the plate with a wave-less brand of ska that chugs away with a speed all of its own. “Float Like A Butterfly” has a distinct sound to it, which is really grounded in the slightly nasal crooning of Finny during the first two tracks. The bass, laid down by Ernie really comes through strongly on “I Found Sunshine”, even if the guitar/horns/drums on the track are fairly pedestrian. “Soul & Inspiration” feels copped from a greatest hits of ska; the slower tempo of the track really allows the catchy lyrics of Finny to shine even more so than in the previous tracks. The guitar work on “Soul & Inspiration” has a very sixties-influenced sound to it that resounds through the rest of the disc. The incredible amount of different approaches attempted by Pama International on “Float Like A Butterfly” allows this disc to move beyond the ska tag and really carve out a niche for itself. The differing time signature of “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” provides yet another checkmark for the band, which really pull out all the stops with the music on this disc. Even the static nature of the guitar work on tracks like “Get Up” really can be dismissed as the distinctive vocals of Finny, as well as the intense bass line that finishes the track really put the track into an entirely new realm.
There is a reason for what “Float Like a Butterfly” is such a fulfilling album. This is due to the fact that this band is constructed from different ska legends, including The Specials, Special Beat, and Madness. When a Pama International song comes on, one must realize that there is around one hundred years of experience crafting each and every track on the disc.
Pama International is ska. They are not a ska band but rather the positive embodiment of the style. Full of energy and intricacies, the band never let down their audience through the sub-40 minute runtime of the album. These are not just pieces of ear-candy, rather they lull listeners into a false sense of complacency as they lay down some of the most technically impressive lines to ever grace a ska album. Each track on the disc is simultaneously a top 40 hit as well as being some of the best tutorials for how to succeed playing ska music.
Top Tracks: Truly Madly Deeply, I Found Sunshine
Pama International – Float Like A Butterfly / 2005 Asian Man Records / 12 Tracks / http://www.pamainternational.uk / http://www.asianmanrecords.com / Reviewed 17 May 2005