General Rudie

Take Your Place

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    7
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This Montreal-based sextet has been playing traditional and modern ska since 1997, and their experience shows in the kind of loose-limbed confidence and effortless ensemble groove that come only with lots and lots of practice and endless touring. While elements of 1960s ska and rocksteady and of second-wave British ska are obvious in General Rudie's sound, the band's most obvious stylistic antecedent are the Slackers -- and that's a compliment. On their second album for the Stomp label they incorporate dancehall influences as well, bringing a lurching three-against-two groove and toaster MC I-Ronnie to bear on "Listen This." "Payback," on the other hand, is smooth and jazzy in a way that recalls the glory days of the New York Ska Jazz Ensemble, and "Addicted" is built on a nice, slowly loping one-drop groove. One might wish that one or two of these tracks would really grab you by the throat and force you to pay attention, but every song on this album is either good or very good. Recommended.

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