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The Slackers - Peculiar Album Cover

The Slackers - Peculiar

Reviewed by
8.6
The Slackers - Peculiar
Release Date: February 21st, 2006
Record Label: Hellcat Records


While so many bands pride themselves on hopping from turf to turf, others believe staying faithful to the ground they were built on is a formula deserving of praise. In the case of American ska legends, The Slackers, the latter is undoubtedly where their passion belongs. From album to album, The Slackers have exposed their fanbase to a recipe that is simple, yet intricate, and constructed a structure for their sound that rarely strays too far from the path. However, while some listeners may see this as a chain binding the band, others view this blueprint as a band offering one release after another of material their original fans can enjoy. Yet, with their latest release, Peculiar, The Slackers seem to serve up a prescription with the power to hook new listeners, and one they can be proud of.

Although Peculiar doesn't offer much in terms of groundbreaking, jaw-dropping material, the album is a refreshing experience all the same. The band, once again, serves up a unique mixture of ska, reggae, rocksteady, and jazz, all blended together to present a product fans will find themselves rather familiar with. The most significant, notable change in the groups overall sound is the difference in lead vocalist Vic Ruggiero's voice, as he presents a more mature, rustier sound, and although Ruggiero is, as always, on top of his game, on first listen it takes a little getting used to. Yet, on a less precise spectrum, this is the same old band fans have grown to love, and a look of dissapointment won't be found on too many listeners faces.

On a musical level, New York's finest are as impressive as always, and the performances from each member are simply beautiful. "86 The Mayo", which opens Peculiar, is a laid-back gem, containing enough infectious hooks to gain the interest of any first time listener, and widen the smiles of any longtime fan. On the other hand, on the records title track, "Peculiar", The Slackers step it up a notch as they run through one of the most awe-inspiring, swinging anthems their discography has seen thus far. It's evident to listeners that while the instrumentation from each member is no less than fantastic, one of the band's most appealing qualities is the defectless, blended combination of saxophonist David Hillyard and trombinist Glen Pine. In the cases of the majority of ska acts, it takes significantly more than a mere two horn players to formulate a full, thick sound, but the effort from both Hillyard and Pine is enormous, and the results are marvelous.

In addition to the band's latest concoctions, a handful of tracks from the groups 2004 release, the International War Criminal EP, are back for another round, and although this could be taken as a tad bit of a letdown for fans searching for a release filled with none but brand new material, the tracks fill out the release beautifully. "Propaganda", which is one of the five songs making a reappearance, is a ska-infused, reggae number that is worthy of all attention it may earn. The transitions in the song alone, and throughout the album as a whole, are alluring, sending listeners from one inspired mood to another with ease. On "Crazy", yet another track begging for a second chance, Ruggiero sings "I'm living in a world gone crazy", as he offers listeners a little insight to his social mindset. However, no established fan should find themselves surprised with the albums lyrical content, as the band runs through their latest batch of socially, politically, and emotionally driven expressions.

Although, when it all boils down, I can safely say that I find myself becoming more addicted to The Slackers with each and every listen. The instrumentation is beautiful, the lyrical content is inspirational, and the melodies are flawless. The Slackers are a band with the ability, talent, and creative power to change the face of music, and while Peculiar may not be a collection that that crawls too far from the band's usual offerings, it's an album deserving of attention and applause. Peculiar is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive ska albums of our time, and despite the lack of acknowledgement from the mainstream, the band has become a chart-topper in my heart.

For Fans OfWestbound Train, The English Beat, The Aggrolites, and Hepcat
This review is a user submitted review from Brandon Allin. You can see all of Brandon Allin's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 9 of 9
11:54 PM on 07/20/06
#2
Big_Guy
Idle Will Kill
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good review
12:03 AM on 07/21/06
#3
Brandon Allin
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Originally Posted by Big_Guy
good review
Thanks. :)
04:02 AM on 07/21/06
#4
El_Jeffe
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great review of a fantastic album, my favourite of '06 so far
i'm not sure if you've heard the international war criminal ep but the 5 tracks from the ep were rearranged (& made even better which was no easy task) before being placed on this album
10:01 AM on 07/21/06
#5
Brandon Allin
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Originally Posted by El_Jeffe
great review of a fantastic album, my favourite of '06 so far
i'm not sure if you've heard the international war criminal ep but the 5 tracks from the ep were rearranged (& made even better which was no easy task) before being placed on this album
Thanks.

Yeah, I know about the changes. I was just implying the same basic songs, even though some arrangements are very different.
10:02 AM on 07/21/06
#6
Brandon Allin
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Originally Posted by apm158
this is a damn good album
Thank you. :)
10:10 AM on 07/23/06
#7
GoWaitInTheCar
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I'm gonna check this out as well.
12:50 PM on 07/23/06
#8
Brandon Allin
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Originally Posted by GoWaitInTheCar
I'm gonna check this out as well.
Be sure to let us know your thoughts on it!
07:40 PM on 10/16/06
#9
Rxbandit22
1,2,3 skank
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I've had this album since the first day it came out, just decided to mini-review it.
I think it's great and if you want a cd that you will pop in 6 months from now, this is one of those to get.

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