In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is one of those albums that has entered the annals of collective memory with such fondness that shields it from most criticism. Listen, it’s an excellent album, but in our current context, it has trouble being removed from the aura that surrounds it. It has become the stuff of legend, and sometimes its hard to approach a work of art without the filter of “legend” changing your vision of it. That’s not to say the album is overrated. It’s not. Again, there’s a reason this album is respected the way it is. Jeff Magnum created a masterpiece with it. Lyrically and sonically, it is still like nothing else.
Except now it (kind of) is. For those who regularly peruse various music blogs, you may have been made aware of In the Aeroskank Over the Checkered Pattern by Skantral Ska Hotel. It is a cover album of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea done in the style of Two-Tone ska. The album is incredibly tongue and cheek, raw, and nonsensical, but for some reason its oddly captivating. It is slightly parodic, but I do think it comes from a place of reverence. And while at times the horns are off beat or the vocals are guttural, it is a very fun listen. The Two-Tone style actually fits the album very well, and its fun to see this album reimagined in a different style. The songs are still there. It is still Jeff Magnum’s masterpiece, but in a weird way, the cover songs put us in touch with the quality of the songs outside of the aura.
Check it out on Bandcamp: https://skanktralskahotel.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-aeroskank-over-the-checkered-pattern