The Slackers Wasted Days

Once again the Slackers triumph. There is so little wrong and so very much right with their fourth studio album. Let's begin with the overall mood: mellow, chillin', cool and fresh. Marq Lyn's vocals have improved as well, showing that he is able to carry a song on his own and, thankfully, Vic Ruggiero's gravely Brooklyn drawl is as heavy as ever. The jazz presence, both sax man Dave Hillyard's signature ragtime and dancehall, is still more prevalent than on previous outings; we find as well a strong calypso bent, a fair bit of dub, a dash of R&B and (ye gods!) a cover of Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." Yes, the Slackers are still the top dogs when it comes to North American ska bands, but they demonstrate far more versatility (along with a healthy complement of guest artists), which lifts them above their peers and imitators. One of the great charms about the Slackers is the fine balance they keep between staying light-hearted and at times even silly and the brooding, introspective street persona they suggest without posturing. In the end, though, disregard the warmth of their albums, their strong and wide fan base and their own individual components - the Slackers remain outstanding musicians that stand far above the average. (Hellcat)