Home Read Classic Album Review: Skalars | Change Up

Classic Album Review: Skalars | Change Up

The St. Louis ska sextet have plenty of what it takes to get the job done.

This came out in 1999 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


It’s one thing to be a working ska band in big cities like New York or L.A., but to make a living playing ska in the U.S. Midwest is a whole ’nother story.

That, one would suspect, takes more than some trendy duds, porkpie hats and a few Specials covers. Fortunately for horn-driven St. Louis sextet Skalars, what it takes is what they seem to have: Well-crafted tunes, soulful vocals (especially from alto player Jessica Butler), vice-tight chops from countless one-nighters, and the sort of varied set list — from sure-footed soul and R&B to Caribbean and Latino-tinged rhythms — that keeps the crowd dancing, the beer flowing and the tip jar full. Put in a fin for me, would ya?