The Adjusters are here to help you with a make-over, trading places with today's Politics of Style. For this band, style begins, and virtually ends, with the fabulous sound of Stax in all its glory. Of course, that boat sailed long ago, during the 1960s, to be exact, but the Adjusters are well aware that a classic style never goes out of fashion. They're equally keen students of politics, too, and thus are well-versed in the theory that national movements may have international repercussions. To that end, the band also look abroad for stylistic suggestions, tracing Stax's impact on both Britain and Jamaica, and incorporating these into their own fashion statement. The end result is this, their inspired debut album, boasting a retro-sound and an international flavor. Eleven members strong, with a full brass section, a smoking rhythm section, and a trio of singers, the Adjusters have an amazingly full sound, although the production doesn't quite do it justice.
As adept at full-on dubby roots as they are at jazz, the band reach their greatest heights on the soul-driven, pure-'60s-styled numbers, where Daraka Kenric's astonishing white-boy-really-got-soul-vocals are unleashed to full effect; "Miniskirt Minnie" is particularly impressive. But Kenric is a versatile singer, and his smoother stylings, as well as his culturally aware lyrics, are equally marvelous. The musicians prove just as talented, as comfortable with careening skankers, freak-out funk, cool jazz or hot blues. Not your typical third wave ska band, this Chicago group reels reggae back to its American R&B roots and reinvents it all over again. As debuts go, a masterpiece.