The Scofflaws

The Scofflaws

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The Scofflaws Review

by Peter J. D'Angelo

Long Island third wave ska outfit the Scofflaws certainly claim their live shows as their greatest strength, but on their first recording for New York's influential Moon Records, they prove that they can bring the energy to disc as well. Playing swinging, laid-back ska, the eight-piece group shows amazing proficiency not only in their songwriting, but also in their instrumental prowess. Soaring horn lines make the music into more than just a party soundtrack and instead create an impressive wall of music with some inspiring solo work. Lyrically the band falls a bit short, and their non-instrumental efforts are not surprisingly distinguished, but they can still hold their own on whatever they attempt. This is most clear in the group's choice of covers: Bernstein's theme for The Man With the Golden Arm and an insanely upbeat ska take on the theme to Pee Wee's Big Adventure. The recording falls a little flat at points, but it is their first recording, and the good definitely outweighs the bad in almost all cases. The reliance on mostly instrumental tracks does wear a bit, but the overall disc is still a pretty good representation of the band's developing skills, and they were an impressive force during a time when their ska-playing peers were moving toward more punk or other hybrid forms of the genre.

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