The Slackers

The Slackers

Redlight

Hellcat

Awww, yeah, this is the way the ska was meant to be played. The Slackers continue to live up to the standard of excellence set by their last album, Better Late Than Never, on their Hellcat debut Redlight. From the opening notes of the lead-off track, “Cooking for Tommy” (a tribute to the Skatalites’ Tommy McCook), you know you’re in for a sweet, smooth, and smoky groove that’s guaranteed to please.

One of the great things about Redlight is that the Slackers do a lot more experimentation on this disc than on the first. A prime example is “Married Girl,” a track reminiscent of late-50’s/early-60’s Del Shannon-styled rock n’ roll, but set to a ska beat. The irresistibly catchy chorus “Married girl, don’t you wanna/ smoke a little marijuana” will be stuck in your head for weeks. Other interesting change-ups include an almost Venice Shoreline Chris-like acoustic ballad called “Come Back Baby,” a cover of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Tin Tin Deo” (reworked as an excursion into dub reggae), and the loungey “Soldier.” They veer more to the rocksteady side on tracks like “Watch This,” “You Must Be Good,” and the title track, while tunes like “Rude and Reckless” and “She Wants to be Alone” are classic Slackers ska.

In summary, Redlight is a logical progression for the Slackers. The band displays considerable growth while staying true to their roots, turning out Hellcat’s best release to date in the process. Hellcat Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026, http://hell-cat.com

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