Summer is almost here ladies and gentlemen, and this all new twelve track album from New York ska outfit The Slackers is going to provide the perfect soundtrack.

That’s right folks, because after the high intensity punk and post punk stuff I’ve been reviewing elsewhere on RPM this month, ‘Don’t Let The Sunlight Fool Ya’ actually came as something of a welcome respite. Indeed, cranking this one out of the RPM boombox over the recent bank holiday was like a much-needed foot on the brakes of life, providing me with a chance to reflect on matters whilst also enjoying the first rays of 2022 sunshine on my face.

‘Don’t Let The Sunlight Fool Ya’ has been seven years in the making for Vic Ruggiero and his bandmates, and for once that old adage about the best things come to those who wait has really never been more apt, because this record really is a right bobby dazzler.

The New York Times recently dubbed the Slackers part of ‘the sound of New York’, and just one listen of ‘Windowland’ later I’m suddenly whisked off to an upstate Manhattan bar one Friday night supping on a cold one totally absorbed in the band playing on the small stage in the window, with the rest of the assembled weekend crew going suitably bananas all around the place. Yup, The Slackers are bringing their A -game via their special brand of ska party to your living room, and all you have to do is pick up a copy of this record to gain entry.

At this point I do have to admit that Nev Brookes should really be reviewing this album, because after all he is RPM’s resident expert in everything with a skanking rhythm, but after hearing the album’s superb title track (which got a video release a few months back) I just had to hear the rest of ‘Don’t Let The Sunlight Fool Ya’ and here within the context of the full album said title track still makes me think it’s a song custom bult for Elvis Costello to one day cover.

Elsewhere, the likes of ‘Hanging On’ and the riotous ‘Nobody’s Listening’ shine through via some truly inspired vocals from Ruggiero, whilst it’s the band’s impressive horn section (of Dave Hillyard and Glen Pine) that get to steal the show on the glorious ‘Way Of A Woman’ and on the subtle soul stylings of the sultry ‘Second Best’. Things get political for the powerful ‘Statehouse’, and dare I say that during the lament of ‘They Are Losing’ the long shadow of a certain Tom Waits looms large over proceedings.

‘Don’t Let The Sunlight Fool Ya’ is very much a dance album though and when you follow the aforementioned ‘They Are Losing’ with the almost 2Tone-esque ‘Shameboy’ you’d have to be one tough cookie (or perhaps an idiot) not to find yourself immediately caught up in the dance craze The Slackers generate.

Look, we’ve all had a couple of tough years, right? Well, it’s time to heal, and great music is the perfect medicine to help us do just that.  So, treat yourself, go get a copy of ‘Don’t Let The Sunlight Fool Ya’, smile, dance and as The Slackers themselves wisely say whilst ‘Time Won’t Set Us Free’ great music most certainly will.

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Author: Johnny Hayward