Whether or not ska is dead remains debatable, but for Vegas’ foremost feel-good septet, the question is nearly irrelevant. OPS’ self-titled debut full-length is a surprising upgrade from their typical horn-heavy live hootenanny; instead a far more mellow, warm ’n’ breezy vibe pervades. Reggae undertones are likewise no longer an ever-prevalent backbone; the overall result is an 11-song collection that grows more wide-ranging and unclassifiable the deeper it goes.
Fan favorite “Waiting” might actually be the worst representation of the evolved direction, that of varying time signatures, contrasting volumes, painstaking arrangements and grooves that build instead of burn out with ceaseless repetition. Outlook-wise, things remain comfortably the same: not even the closing twofer of tragic narrative “Who Are You?” and ruminative “All Fall Down” can veil the eternal optimism at the album’s core. Throw in top-notch production, and the result is a most professional local release.