Stubborn  All-Stars - Back With A New Batch (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Stubborn All-Stars

Back With A New Batch (1997)

Triple Crown

The summer of 97 was both good and bad for ska. The music was suddenly popular due to the efforts of the Reel Big Fish, Sublime, Less Than Jake, the Bosstones and countless others who released major albums late in 96. However it was not long before there were far too many ska bands, the music was being watered down and pacified for pop consumption. In the midst of all this, the Allstars took a very traditional approach to their music. What results is “Back With a New Batch,” an album with a heavy reggae influence. It works very well.

“Pick Yourself Up” is a great third-wave song, featuring background vocals by Dicky Barrett of the Bosstones and Tim, Lars and Matt of Rancid (Rancid actually backs several songs, although you can barely tell). "Tired of Struggling" is featured twice, first as a slower reggae track and later as “Struggling Version,” a dub version featuring Jack Ruby Jr’s toasting. “Dave Helm” is a very fun and skankin’ instrumental. Nothing seems out of place, although the song “Back With a New Batch” can sound rather silly.

The only problem I have with this is the brilliant horn lines that were featured on previous albums are sacrificed for more of a dub sound. The horns are great, but there could have been more. Also the use of guest artists is barely noticeable. However the intention may just have been to include Django’s friends from Rancid and the Bosstones, not seriously incorporate their voices.

- Adam White (Shindo)