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The Slackers

By Ursula G. Dillard

The Question

Hellcat Records

The Slackers from Hellcat Records, a label synonymous with new up-and-coming ska bands, have recently followed up their first two records, Better Late than Never and Redlight, with The Question. If you are already a fan of theirs, you will not be disappointed. Victor Ruggiero still leads The Slackers with his sexy, scratchy voice, and they still pump out that strong reggae-ska-calypso-swing beat. The Question, being their third record since 1990, exhibits a progression towards integrating new diverse sounds, influenced by jazz, mambo, R&B and soul, into their traditional style. If you are somewhat familiar with the ska scene, The Slackers would most closely resemble Hepcat, with a more slick/soulful feel. The Slackers are also noteworthy for their ability to give a sad sentimental song such as "Alone Again" an appropriate catchy peppy beat that you can't help dancing to. If you can think only of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt when you think of ska, it is time you heard a great traditional ska band staying true to its rock-steady Jamaican roots from the time of Desmond Dekker and Bob Marley in songs like "No More Crying," while trying to reinvent it moderately with songs like "The Question" and "Manuel."

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