Last year's formation of Streetlight Manifesto was not unlike the planning of the perfect heist. Six old friends and seasoned veterans of the once lively New Jersey Ska underworld came together again to form an all-star group, a literal "dream team" of characters. All six original members came form the two biggest and most promising local ska/punk bands of the late 90's. Comprised of one half former Catch 22 members and one half former One Cool Guy members, Streetlight began work on their self-titled 4 song EP/demo. Once completed, it was sent out to a few choice independent-minded record labels and almost immediately the group was signed to Victory Records in December of 2002. The lineup has changed slightly since the first recording, but the vibe and musicianship of the team remain as sharp as a blade. Ex-"Keasbey Era" Catch 22 members Josh Ansley (bass), Jamie Egan (trombone) and Tomas Kalnoky (guitar, vocals & songwriting) are paired with the jazz and ska influenced playing of saxophonists Dan Ross and Jim Conti. Filling the percussive spots in the roster are Paul Lowndes (drum kit) and the last-minute addition of Shane Thompson (various percussion). Each member is as comfortable with his respective instrument as possible and it shows.
Combining countless influences, but focusing on ska, punk and reggae, the Streetlight boys command a sound all their own. Everything from Eastern European gypsy keys to tribal rhythms make it into the average Streetlight Manifesto song and it's because of this diversity that they stand on their own. Throw into the mix an uncompromising D.I.Y. ethic, a deliberate and unmistakable visual style and enough energy to destroy small countries, and you've got just a fraction of the whole of Streetlight Manifesto. Hopefully the world will appreciate the sounds of this new-but-weary group as much as band enjoy making them, as their debut LP hits stores later this summer