The Scofflaws

Ska in Hi-Fi

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A major evolution from their debut, the second disc from Long Island's Scofflaws kicks off with the commanding "The Whip Version," a skanking stomp that boasts a great recording and a strong sound from the group. They continue throughout the 16-song effort, and along the way provide plenty of highly danceable grooves. Live staples honed at the group's many shows make an appearance on this record, including their most famous composition, "William Shatner," an ode to their favorite Star Trek actor and all around renaissance man. It's a fantastic romp that is as playful as it is funny, and while it may ignite dancefloors when played live, for a recorded version it is still surprisingly strong. The Scofflaws still sound best when they get off on an instrumental tangent, but the vocals are pretty efficient this time around too, and there are very few weaknesses in their overflowing, full sound. It's a spirited affair, but the band never rushes their music, instead preferring to rely on relaxed reggae tempos and letting their powerful horn section lead the way. There's a timely element to the songs as well, but the reliance on the chilled-out tempo of earlier days makes things even more enveloping and creates an overall cohesiveness of style. Ska is a live form of music, yet with enough skill a band can make a pretty commanding album, and while the Scofflaws may not have created a perfect record, Ska in Hi-Fi is a great glimpse at what the band is capable of.

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