The Toasters – One More Bullet
Release Date: April 24, 2007
Record Label: Stomp Records
Celebrating the band's 25th anniversary, The Toasters' new album, One More Bullet, is testimony that they remain the standard-bearers of the ska scene. Led by British-born frontman/guitarist Rob "Buck" Hingley, the band has written a 12-song round as energetic as it is mellow, but danceable as ever.
"What a Gwan" is a fun track, with bassist Jason Nwagbaraocha handling the choruses and Hingley the verses. With the ska equivalent of breakdowns trumpeting through your ears, you too will be hooked from the very first song. "Night Train to Moscow" is a song that Hingley penned when The Toasters played in Siberia last year. The band has always been known for playing exotic locales that most other bands don't venture to, and have a large following in some of the less-visited parts of Europe as a result. "Where's the Freedom" and "Life in a Bubble" continue the dance party. The former, an outspoken political statement sung completely by Nwagbaraocha, the latter split vocally. Both singers are at the top of their game, infusing different styles and genres into the music, which helps One More Bullet tickle your eardrums with a tangy dose of diversity.
Following the scorching four leads, "Run Rudy Run Redux" features heavy use of the organ and harmonica, slowing down the tempo of the album. For the skankers in here, never fear; arguably the most entertaining, tongue-in-cheek song of the album is right on its heels. "You're Gonna Pay" is a fiery retaliation at all of the people in the industry who have wronged the band over the years. The keys will dance through your ears, and it is unlikely that the infectious chorus will stop flailing through your brain in a black-and-white checked suit. "When Will I Be Loved?" is a slow-jam, woe-is-me song, which drags on a bit, proving itself one of the weaker contributions. It seems sarcastic, but it doesn't back up the satire as well as "You're Gonna Pay." "One More Bullet," as a title track brings some great organ/keyboard parts, which shimmer like gold behind Hingley's smoothly delivered vocals. Instrumental fans, never fear—The Toasters are here. "Step Up" runs a shade under three minutes, but stands proud near the top of the pile, and is sure to captivate even the most ADD of listeners with its lively sound.
One More Bullet, long-awaited by Toasters fans, certainly does not disappoint. It feels like there is little filler on the album, partly because of the amount of time the band spent in their studio in Valencia, Spain. Expect a couple of slower songs on this album and some mid-tempo ones, but overall, they're all well-written, which results in a complete, compelling collection of music. Until a worthy challenger comes along to dethrone the kings of ska, One More Bullet is the best ska album of 2007. The Toasters' empire will continue to reign supreme for another year.