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Album Review

The Toasters originally released their second album Skaboom back in 1987, on the Celluloid label. By 1994, five more full-lengths had followed, and it was a sign of their success that the group at this point decided to reissue Skaboom, along with eight bonus tracks. Four of these tracks comprised the band's Recriminations EP, which actually began life as a demo produced by an old mate of Bucket's, Joe Jackson, and which was self-released on 12" single in 1985. Although ska-based from the get go, surprisingly, Recriminations was not only brass-less, but revels in a new wave-y sound and male/female dueting vocals. "Run Rudy Run," in contrast, showcased the band's rootsier side, and its moody, bluesy melodica was provided by Jackson himself. Two years later, the Toasters' debut album Poolshark arrived via the Unicorn label, and four tracks from that set were culled for inclusion here. That set was brasher, brighter, and more emphatically ska driven than their earlier material, albeit with eclectic backdrops that ranged from the surf-side to the juke joint. Now boasting a brass section, and two new vocalists, the Toasters' sound was significantly shifting while the lineup continued expanding. By the time they came to record Skaboom, the group had ballooned into an 11-piece aggregate. The resulting high adrenaline album found the band in top form, their playing extremely tight, and the arrangements increasingly intricate and innovative. The Toasters' signature sound was now in place and instantly recognizable, and while Two Tone based, was blended with myriad other elements that continually shook up the styling in kaleidoscope fashion. Check out the hip-hop goes dread-jazz "ABC's" to catch this amalgamation at its most stunningly creative. The driving "Talk Is Cheap" remained a band fave, and would later be recut for their Hard Band for Dead album. The propulsive "Weekend in LA" would also be redone, turning up in fine style on Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down. While Poolshark's title track was itself instantly recycled to great effect. In fact, the only thing on this reissue is "Beat Up," The Toasters' debut single (it would, however, appear on the Thrill Me Up reissue). It would have been nice to compare it to its new version "East Side Beat," which the band included on Skaboom. New or old, fresh or recut, there isn't a less than highly entertaining number within. Many more changes were to follow, along with a stream of stellar releases, but this is where it all started for the Toasters, and what a grand beginning it was. [The 2009 edition included one bonus track.]

Customer Reviews

Best Ska Band EVERRR

A completely amazing ska album, from ska's veterans themselves, The Toasters. "Talk is Cheap" and "Weekend in LA" are some of my favorite songs. You should definately buy this album.

2Tone Ska At Its Best

Skaboom! has to be one of the best ska albums of all time. Every track makes you want to skank. Any ska fan should have a Toasters CD, and this one is my favorite. I have skanked on stage with The Toasters in San Diego, and this album is the closest thing to that experience. Weekend in L.A. is my favorite track, but all of the songs are essential Toasters. Lookin' for a hep time? Try Skaboom!, a truly influential ska album.

All Downhill From Here

This is by far the best record the toasters put out, part of a move in the early 80s to create a US arm of the ska revival/postcolonial nostalgia intiated in the UK by the Coventry Automatics and The Beat. This is not a "2tone" record, since 2tone was long over by the time Skaboom dropped, and neither should it be seen as an originary moment for U.S. ska. since there were bands touring and playing and even recording before thius record was published. That said, it's a pretty darn good cd. The bass player was particularly noteworthy, and "Talk Is Cheap", "Weekend in LA" and "Pool Shark" hold up pretty well (though Hingley's habit of covering them repeatedly as filler on later records was rather pathetic), as does the stuff from the "Recriminations" EP. But there's a great deal of posturing here that only invites further accusations of egotism to be heaped upon those Hingley, the only remaining original member of the band, has no doubt already been tarred with. These Toasters showed some promise - what happened to them?


Formed: 1982

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most important American ska bands, the Toasters did much to popularize the genre on the underground scene in the mid- to late '80s, laying the groundwork for later third wave bands like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and ska's subsequent explosion in popularity in the mid- to late '90s. British expatriate Rob "Bucket" Hingley formed the Toasters in New York City in 1982 after discovering that the 2 Tone ska he loved had made virtually no inroads into the American music scene. He gathered...
Full Bio
Skaboom!, The Toasters
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