If you’re not on TikTok or a Jeff Rosenstock fan, you might not be privy to the ska resurgence—if you thought ska was dead, boy, were you wrong. One of the musicians keeping the ska dream alive is Elise Okusami who releases music as Oceanator and whose album Things I Never Said proved to be one of the gems to come out of the horrid year 2020. Today she’s shared a new single “Too Late” that features JER (a.k.a. Skatune Network) on trombone.
Oceanator’s usual sound is grungy, lo-fi rock, and her prior single was an edgy cover of Elliott Smith’s “Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud.” But “Too Late” is a flex that Okusami can really, um, skank? Yes, that’s the name for ska dancing. Anyway, “Too Late” tugs between the playful ska propulsion and Oceanator’s tense lyricism. “Nobody else believes in you either / Ever since the day you ran / You’ll spend the rest of your life in hiding / And that’s the best that you can ask for,” she sings during the chorus. The trombone and distorted guitars tussle with each other like siblings wrestling.
It’s unclear who’s the protagonist here—if it’s the narrator or the person who’s been shunned. Either way, the riotous brass merges well with the aggressive tone. Despite all the mystery, one thing I’m sure of is that an Oceanator ska album would be iconic and I’m desperate to hear more of this song’s story. Alas, I’m grateful for what Okusami and JER have shared. After all, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Listen to “Too Late” below.