Today is My Day
Acknowledging the death knoll heralding that ska is dead, The Gadjits have entirely abandoned their rocksteady sound, not so much ska-punk but the bouncy stuff that former producer Vic Ruggiero of The Slackers still pumps out, The Gadjits are all about rock n’ soul these days. What started as an AC/DC cover band but found success on the road with The Skatalites and Rancid as a Third Wave Ska outfit, the Phillips brothers (Brandon on vocals and guitar, Zach on bass and vocals, and Adam on drums) have seized the day to camouflage themselves in the rock n’ roll revival on Today is My Day. They, along with Hillary Allen (who long ago replaced Heidi Blobaum on keys and vocals), have come up with an enjoyable and listenable album, but time will tell if their diehard fans are willing to switch horses midstream alongside them.
The leadoff track, “We Were Right,” dives headlong into the River of Soul, and made me wonder which CD I had slipped in instead of The Gadjits, so I hit eject to doublecheck. Right off the bat, they let you know this is not your older siblings’ Gadjits. Allen’s Hammond and sultry backing vocals set the slow groove for the Southern-spun “Waffle House is Not a Home.” Between Brandon’s deeper, more grown-up lead vocals and a harmonica solo stashed in there, it’s not terribly surprising Tim Armstrong passed on this album to release on his Hellcat/Epitaph label as not fitting their “sound,” thus being released by The Blue Meanies’ Thick Records. The Gadjits lay down their own update on The Who’s idea of Maximum R&B on “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Demographic,” pausing to claim they “can’t get no satisfaction,” before returning to a stutter-free condemnation of their demographic. And wouldn’t’chya just know it, them Kansas City boys (and girl) had to burn the barn down on “This Could Be Permanent,” a country nugget to close out the album, that is a far cry from “Bullet in the Mattress,” the jumpin’ ditty that made me love The Gadjits back on their Hellcat debut.
The Gadjits: http://www.thegadjits.com