Yes, this could be considered a ska record, and yes, ska really is not as popular as it was a short time ago. But forget all of that genre prejudice, The Slackers are a different breed of band. Their smooth arrangements, jazzy interludes, and uncannily humable tunes allow them to transcend the musical genre of ska. If you have ever had the great opportunity to see them live, you know of the goodtime party atmosphere that they project. And, if you are a fan of good music and great live bands, (Allow me to paraphrase Lewis Black here) "...and not been there, get off your ass." You will not be disappointed.
All of that aside, The Slackers are dropping their fifth proper full-length for Hellcat with Peculiar. Their line up has undergone a few changes over the years, but the current group can still kick out some good jams. This album features quite a few guest appearances by several old members of the band as well as Alex Desert - former vocalist of Hepcat and actor. Peculiar also kicks it up a notch over the last few albums. It is really upbeat and has several memorable numbers that would make my fictional, rolling "greatest hits" collection of theirs that resides in the old iPod next to all the other noise that normally eats up storage space in there.
"86 the Mayo" is the opening track for Peculiar. It is a bit mellow for an opener but is a good song nonetheless. The title track follows and has more energy to it. It actually has a great cadence in the vocal arrangements and that carries the song. "Propaganda" is the third song on the album. It is a bit old as it was a single from a while back and has been a part of the Slackers live set for some time. "Propaganda" is also the band's most overtly political song that I can remember. Irregardless, this is a bad ass song; it has an excellent instrumental arrangement and the vocals have a heavy reggae feel to them. "Set the Girl Free" is a good song. It has a fifties American rock n roll feel, all the way down to the low, bass back up vocal. "In Walked Capo" is written to be a live song. When they play it live, The Slackers get everyone present involved. It translates better than I thought it would to the recorded medium, maybe because it conjures up images if the band in the live setting; but that is never a bad description. "I'd Rather Be Happy" is an acoustic song. The band usually does a good job with these and this is no exception. "What Went Wrong" is a Glen Pine (the trombonist) contribution. His vocals are a good addition to the album. This song was catchy and surprising that I dug it so much. I immediately found myself singing along to "Keep It Simple" when it came over the headphones. It has a great hook that will have anyone doing exactly as I did. Peculiar closes with a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released". They do an admirable job with the song. Seeing as Dylan covers are often hit or miss, hearing a hit is a welcome addition to the album.
Peculiar definitely shows that The Slackers are not slowing down or losing their chops after being such an active outfit for so long. Their output is sizable and the quality is usually there. The good part about Peculiar is that it really is quality all the way through from start to finish, and it has several almost great songs. It is an enjoyable listen. I surely recommend it.
7.5 / 10
Has it really been twenty years since this album made its way out into the world? Time does fly by when you are living life, but Redlight does not sound ...
Posted May 31, 2019, 9:07 p.m.
Originally released in 2006 on Hellcat Records, The Slackers' Peculiar is being reissed on 12" LP by Pirates Press Records, and being paired with a bonus 7" of two tracks ...
Posted March 2, 2019, 1:27 p.m.
More news from the ska scene: The Slackers will be on tour this summer, playing dates across the US, Canada, and a UK run in October. The tour includes two ...
Posted March 19, 2017, 10:34 a.m.
Redlight, long out of print, it returning to circulation this year in a 20th anniversary pacakge with three bonus digital tracks. Originally released by Hellcat Records in 1997, the new ...
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