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.
// Notes from the Road
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