welcome back to the Skaject folks! this week, we’re taking a look at the fourth record from the Toasters: New York Fever, released in 1992!


New York Fever, the title track and opener, is really excellent. the horn line here is sharp and really fun, and the quick upbeat pace keeps the track driving extremely well. big fan. Ploughshares into Guns reminds me of a Big D and the Kids Table song (though, given the chronology here, that song sounds like this one). really interesting approach for an anti-war song, and one i really enjoy. the guitar and drum feel very “old ska”, with the bass and horns doing a whole lot that feels way more modern. lyrically, its likely about the 1st Gulf War, but unfortunately has not lost relevance in the last 30 years. History Book Version is an neat one – they begin by highlighting historical figures frok the age of exploration, but the last verse and vocals from Cashew Miles indicate that there’s more than what the history books tell about this time period. i like this one too. continuing the strong start is Too Hip To Be Cool – really dig the choruses here, and this is a good song discussing hipsters before that became like, a whole thing. Night Train is a mellower sound – the horn performances here remind me a lot of TSPO’s approach. Social Security, musically, is a real jam. lyrically im mixed – the track describes a burnout and someone who’s failed to create their own community or safety net. theres an indication here that the character in this song will fall back on social safety nets, and i feel like there are positive and negative readings of that, to be honest. that being said, the song does slap, with an excellent chorus. Shebeen’s about an underground bar – it feels like a tribute not just to the bar that inspired the song but all the places where folks find music and community together that are off the beaten path. really nice song, and its funny that it grabs the horn line from Low Rider. Johnny Forsake Her is a much lower tempo track about a bad relationship – the horns here are, again, absolutely killer. Too Much Happening is musically a lot brighter, but the narrator here is uh, overwhelmed, to say the least. the version of Pool Shark here is another version of a track from their debut, Skaboom!. this version is a significantly higher tempo – really big improvement, to me. B27 is another instrumental track – real smooth. the laat two tracks are alternate versions of tracks earlier on the record: there’s a version of Ploughshares that uses a different horn line, and an alternate of Shebeen. both are solid, but kind of an odd way to close things out.

faves – New York Fever, Ploughshares Into Guns, History Book Version, Too Hip To Be Cool, Social Security
dislikes –

right off the bat, i did want to shout out a blog i have been stopping by occasionally and had an incredibly post on this record: The Duff Guide To Ska. the post’s author, Steve Shafer, contextualized the record both in terms of the band’s history, New York’s history, and in the overall flow of the discography, providing a wealth of information i’m not sure i would’ve found elsewhere. i’m a wayyy latecomer to the genre, even for my generation, and some of this isn’t readily available online, so i’m extremely grateful for folks like Steve who share their experience, perspective, and knowledge. so… go check it out, it’s an excellent read!

that being said, this was an excellent record. the intro to this album is incredible, and maintains that energy for a lot longer than i’d think was possible. i really appreciate that they touch on so many different topics, from the machine of war and the construct of colonialism in History Book Version and Ploughshares into Guns to some closer to the chest stuff, like the music and cultural scene in New York in tracks like the title track or Too Hip to Be Cool. i do think the back end of the record is a bit weaker, though that may just be me not being a huge fan of closing the record out on alternate takes rather than calling it at B27. that being said – an extremely good listen, and one i’d highly recommend.

New York Fever – 9/10

next week we’re checking out Fat Sound, by Bad Manners!

previous: Skapocalypse Now! | next: Fat Sound

previous Toasters album: This Gun For Hire | next: Dub 56

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