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The Adjusters

Before the Revolution

(Moon Ska)

Rather like 1980s Paul Weller, Chicago’s Adjusters have embraced all things mod, from Stax and Motown to reggae and socialism. Labeling this band ska doesn’t even begin to cover it, as the Adjusters have created a cohesive sound that combines Motown (“Number Three”) and Stax soul with traditional ska, roots reggae (“People Make”) and a bit of jazz (“Supervixen”).


Highlighting the diversity of the band’s approach, the lead-off track, “Special Prosecutor,” is a spy music instrumental that sounds like James Bond meets Booker T. & the MG’s. Traditional Two Tone ska is represented by “Armstrong,” but then there’s the Motown-style of “Number Three” and the heavily Stax-influenced “Witness” and “Toehold,” a classic Wilson Pickett number.


Beyond just accomplished instrumental work, The Adjusters seek to re-radicalize ska, incorporating a social consciousness in the music that is missing from the adolescent ska of the No Doubt crowd. The diversity of the musical approach and the thoughtfulness of the lyrics make Before The Revolution one of the most satisfying and refreshing “ska” releases of the year.

Rating:

Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.


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