The Double Deckers
My, how these boys have grown! I’ve been following the Double Deckers for what seems like ages now, and they were good from the very start, but with the release of Showtime! , the band shows that it’s ready for the big leagues of the ska world, showcasing an incredible maturation and hard-won chops. This is a record that easily stands toe-to-toe with any release this year — and not just in the ska genre, either.
The soulful sound of “Keep On Pushing” is an early favorite, with Jason Adams’ distinctive crooning ably backed by tasteful harmonies and a jazzy, traditional groove. The musical skill behind the manic ska-jazz of “Spanish Fly” impresses, as does the gritty yet polished “Box of Lies.” The funky “A Day in the Life” wouldn’t be out of place in a Shaft remake, with it’s wokacha-wokacha guitars and punctuating horns, along with a truly stunning run at the keys from Justin Zacks. A skillful and understated acoustic guitar provides a compelling backing for the clever storytelling of “Plan B,” while “What I Wouldn’t Give” recalls Randy Newman’s best work, in terms of structure and vocal delivery. Elsewhere, the smoky jazz of “Havanna” features some beautiful solo work from the whole band, especially saxophonist BJ Gagliardi, the swingy “Bus Stop” gets feet moving, and the fun, campy “Luke” depicts Luke Skywalker as the leader of a ska band, and is much more than the sum of its Star Wars references (and besides, how can you not love a couplet like “It’s a good thing Obi Wan Kenobi came to the dance/Making sure Luke kept his lightsaber in his pants”?).
The end result is that Showtime! has barely left my CD player since I’ve received it, and I can virtually guarantee it’ll do the same in yours. This record will easily make my year’s ten-best list, and I’m not just talking about ska records — this stands up to any new music I’ve heard this year. The Double Deckers are ready for the big time! http://www.thedoubledeckers.com; FLSka@aol.com