For years, ska has been the Next Big Thing, perpetually on the verge of a major commercial breakthrough. But that big-time mainstream acceptance hasn't really taken hold until recently, when No Doubt's multiplatinum success opened the door for popular singles by samey ska bands like Reel Big Fish. It's hard to imagine an act more ripe for success than Berkeley's high-spirited Dance Hall Crashers: The group's fourth full-length, Honey, I'm Homely!, is packed literally end to end with infectious potential radio hits. Like a peppier, more self-assured No Doubt, DHC spares us the morose ballads and kicks out 15 foot-tapping featherweights, with scant few clunkers like the inane "Elvis & Me" to weigh things down. For a genre built around rhythm and energy, most new, commercially successful ska has sounded pretty stodgy; you've got to admire DHC singers Elyse Rogers and Karina Deniké for loosening up the genre and having fun with it.

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