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July 14, 2024

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The Adjusters
Before The Revolution (Moon Ska Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Soul-drenched ska, The Adjusters take a whole lot of soul, throw it into a pot of traditional ska, and then mix in some reggae moments. The outcome is a truly amazing record. Led by both female and male vocals, this group never repeats themselves, always serving up a new plate of soul-ska with various influences thrown in.

Right out of the gates, The Adjusters prove that soul is their foundation, but they are also capable of incorporating other music styles into their brand of soul. An instrumental soul/surf number, "Special Prosecutor" does a good job of warming you up. The only missing piece to the music is the vocals, which are a strong point in most tracks following this one. A good way to start out, however, not until "Armstrong" does the fun really begin. A traditional ska number with a extensions into soul, this number will begin to gain your interest in the band and truly captivate you. The keyboards are hot, you can hear every note walk across the music with such passion, while the addition of the soulful male vocals and beautiful female vocals backing them really carries the song. The upbeat is meaty, a big player in the music, giving you a lot to dance with. When the horns come in they glow through the music, lighting up every note that is touched upon. And let's not forget the rhythm section, which packs a nice big wallop. If the idea behind soul is to get you to feel the music right in your heart, and ska's goal is to get you to dance, then they touch upon both of these aspects in this nice little package of a song. Gaining your attention, once "Number Three" hits, you'll never look back. A great soul number, the ska is added in bits and pieces, and the outcome is number that will have you singing along, listening in amazement at the tremendous vocal job they do, as well as dancing around with the song. Grabbing your attention with a fantastic soul chorus, after hearing this number I was sold on the album. And I was only on track three by this point. "I'll be the other guy, but never just another guy. Why can't, why can't you see? You've got to get with me. Stay with me," rings out through the chorus in such an addictive manner, with so much soul to it, you can't help but sing along and feel every word deeply. The vocals are perfect for portraying the emotions involved with relations, deep and sulky, while still offering up some confidence. It is the vocals, and not just the words, that make this song ring around in your head as much as it does. Backed with very beautiful, delicate female vocals, the words fly out of the music in such a passionate way that you won't be able to resist. If every number on this album was like this song, they would have an all-time best seller, guaranteed. Moving on, "Loose Roots" mixes a slight dub feel with some reggae and ska. A very slow, intense number, it takes issues regarding race and color. A very open political band, a lot of the songs on this album have a lot of anti-racist sentiments, and this is one of them. Done is such a soulful manner, this number will sink into your mind and start you questioning our society and all the hate it contains. Even if you let the music sit in the background, and aren't officially paying attention to it, it's still strong enough where the music will subliminally get you thinking about issues regarding to the topic of the song. It just has that easy going, 'sit back and think about life' feel to it. On "Supervixen" they once again show another side of themselves, serving up some hard jazz that is suitable to lounge around with, or sit back and dance with. Strong horns take charge, demanding all your attention when they're present. And when the horns aren't spitting out the notes, the organ and the percussion make you take notice. "The Bad Man" moves back to more of their underlined Motown feel, offering up a slow soul number dealing with relationships and love. Easy going and soft, the number will strike several chords inside you, and while they are apologizing for their screw-ups during relationships, you'll follow their lead and begin to dream up ideas on how you can repair past problems that have occurred because of you. Entertainment, and a push to a solution, the music will hit you in more places than your ears. Ending with "Clare Short," they close out the disc with a ska-jazz number.

With their second disc The Adjusters have matured, built upon everything that was good on their first album, and brought forth another blend of danceable ska and heart-touching soul. Whether they're singing a political number about racism or a song about love, they do it in such a way as to touch the listener and make them react. I'll give this disc an A-.s

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