Toasters “One More Bullet”

Album Reviews | May 20th, 2007

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Record Label: Stomp Records
Genre: Ska
Band Link: link
Buy on link

Bryan already reviewed this, but I’d like to add my thoughts.

First off, I’m still impressed that Buck & Co. keep on truckin’. They’re continually releasing music and touring, spreading the good word of ska across the land. So kudos to them.

Onto the album. As Bryan pointed out, there’s yet a new lineup. Forget “original members” – there’s only two members from two albums ago – Larry “Ace” Snell and the ever-present third-wave legend Rob “Bucket” Hingley. The band suffers similarly with Enemy of the System in having a flatter-than-usual sound and uninspired horns that seem to exist for the sake of existing and not to carry the melody. But new toaster Jason Nwagbaraocha adds new life to this old dog with his rapid-fire chatting that’s more Coolie Ranx than Jack Ruby.

Of the 11 tracks, one’s a standard instrumental, two are covers of oldies (Everly Bros and Dave Clark), and one follows the tradition of redoing a Toaster classic (this one, Run Rudy Run, one of my favorite songs of all time). The rest fall between mediocre-and-good-I-guess, and Buck’s voice is sounding more tired than ever. Nwagbaraocha, more than the music, gives the songs energy – this is especially true for “What A Gwan” and “Where’s the Freedom?” Of the original new songs, “You’re Gonna Pay” is the most upbeat, fun, and full-sounding, and continues Buck’s theme of dishing out karma. Disappointingly, for such a cool title, the title track is a downtempo and boringly simple blues-style tune.

One More Bullet continues the Toasters’ trademark sound but lacks a real hit. At their best, they sound derivative of themselves. There’s nothing outright bad here, but nothing I would put on a greatest hits set.

I periodically get sick of ska, but can always listen to the Toasters – I wish they’d give me more reason to do so. Perhaps I hold them at too high a standard, but when you’re a band that’s put out such great music over 25 years, a high standard is something you should shoot for. Mediocrity works for many ska bands, but not the Toasters.

Bottom Line: Love the Toasters, but this one’s treading water.
Notable Tracks: Where’s the Freedom?, You’re Gonna Pay, Run Rudy Run Redux
Overall Rating: