Straddling the line between punk and ska, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones had a hard driving sound with a healthy dose of brass.
Part of the appeal was Dickie Barrett. He couldn't and can't really sing. That is to say he hits the notes but his voice is not one that anyone would describe as pleasant... any other voice wouldn't quite fit in the Bosstones. Barrett's vocals are as much a trademark of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones sound as their horns are.
After cutting their teeth on a couple of indie-releases, Devil's Night Out (1990) and More Noise and Other Disturbances (1992) the Mighty Mighty Bosstones finally found themselves signed to a major label (Polygram) and while Don't Know How to Party grew their audience and started to get them noticed it wasn't necessarily a breakout hit.
But at the same time the Bosstones were at the forefront of the brass-laden ska and new swing resurgences of the late nineties. The nice thing about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones-- their songs are fun party fare. They never take themselves too seriously. These are the theme songs emenating from fraternity houses of the mid-90s. There's a happy-go-lucky vibe to the music that captures the mood of the mid-90s... An anti-grunge if you will (the Bosstones often performed in loud plaid suits-- not exactly the uniform of the Nirvana generation).
That being said there's a screeching anger on some songs that would not have sounded out of place on a Nirvana or Pearl Jam album. But that anger is often tempered by following angry songs like A Man Without with lighter party fare like the infectious Holy Smoke.
Admittedly the Mighty Mighty Bosstones aren't for everyone, but if you're going to check them out, Don't Know How to Party is the best place to start. It's easily one of, if not THE strongest album the Bosstones ever released from the frenetic Our Only Weapon to the live staple from that era of the band Seven Thirty-Seven/Shoe Glue
Mighty Mighty Bosstones (official site)
Mighty Mighty Bosstones (wikipedia)
Dicky Barrett (wikipedia)
Nate Albert (wikipedia)
Joe Gittleman (wikipedia)
Joe Sirois (wikipedia)
Tim "Johnny Vegas" Burton (wikipedia)
Dennis Brockenborough (wikipedia)