Inspecter 7

The Infamous

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Like virtually all the third wave ska bands, Two Tone may have provided Inspecter 7's initial impetus, but the band had already moved far beyond the British movement's own refracted take on ska. And while the vocals owe much to the Two Toners, the brass section is taking its cues from the originators, the Skatalites themselves. Unlike that legendary Jamaican group, however, individual Inspecters don't vie for listener's attentions, preferring to arrange their songs so each horn player has the opportunity to shine, with the set's short, sharp numbers boasting wonderfully smooth trade-offs between soloists. Now and then, though, the brass is done in by the rhythm section, which sets a pace so frenetic that it's impossible for the horns to keep up, notably on the instrumental "Agent 86." However, that track aside, the Inspecters are marvelously clean and tight. But what truly sets the group apart are the unexpected elements they throw into their fast-paced jazzy mix, not least of all keyboards that love to careen Madness fashion across the more frenetic numbers, a checkerboard sound further solidified by razor-sharp riffing. However, guitarist Tim Predator Boyce also offers up some superbly surfy guitar leads à la Ernest Ranglin, most spectacularly on the instrumentals "Spy Front" and "Cookin'," and the shift between his solos and the jazz-fired brass passages is irresistible and particularly unique. High-energy songs, superb musicianship, excellent arrangements, and enthusiastic vocals bring three continents colliding, and the resultant tsunami is third wave at its best.

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