2017 was a pretty good year for ska… the alleged fourth wave was being mooted, The Selecter released the long awaited Daylight and a hard gigging band – Buster Shuffle – broke through with a belter of an album entitled I Take What I Want and it did well, enabling the band to secure support slots with bands like Flogging Molly, Less Than Jake, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Interrupters.
Five years, one pandemic and more performing restrictions than you can shake a covid test at and the London based four piece are back with a force. Go Steady is a crowd funded, independent ten track album to be reckoned with which generated fifteen thousand pounds in just seven weeks. Not bad for an independent troupe.
If you took Olga‘s vocals from the Toy Dolls and Silky‘s vocals from Death of Guitar Pop and mashed them all together with Barso and Tommo from Madness and The Dickies keys dude Chuck Wagon – you would get something close to the rockney ska punk that is so characteristic of their sound.
The stand up keyboard drives much of the album which shows a rounder sound than I Take What I Want. Deadline is the opening track and it is a clever commentary about the cycle of fiscal dependency that we are all on. Go Steady picks the pace up whilst This City Is Ours has an almost glam feel with – dare I say – an Elton Johnesque piano (a compliment! EJ is a damn fine pianist – think Saturday Night’s Alright…). New Badge For My Uniform mercilessly rips into the futility of incentive driven corporation jobs with a cracking chorus realising the frustration of so many of us in our first jobs. It’s an obvious single from the ten tracks on show. The addition of an accordion gives a sophisticated air juxtaposed by the chanted rockney lyrics of lead singer Jet on In History I Still Have You. Fan favourite Sucker Punch Blues closes down the album in full rock n’roll mode.
It’s taken ten years for Buster Shuffle to reach this standard, losing some of the rough edges of the past four albums to produce a well crafted, entertaining album. This is supported by the boys returning to their natural territory of gigging live on a massive tour from March until May across Europe.
Go Steady releases on March 18th.