Los Angeles’ ska hooligan sextet The Steady 45s have issued their debut single, “Long Time Coming” b/w “Pressure,” on L.A.’s Steady Beat Records. Emerging from north and eastern Los Angeles, the same region that birthed reggae shufflers The Delirians and rocksteady songstress Jackie Mendez, The Steady 45s have crafted a sound that weaves between the authentic neo-classic reggae that inspires the current scene and the English Two-Tone style that fueled the previous generation of Southland ska purveyors like Dance Hall Crashers, Reel Big Fish and, notably, No Doubt.
This is London Calling spun on its head: instead of a punk band (The Clash) playing reggae music (think “Wrong ’Em Boyo”) under the guidance of a R&B fanatic (producer Guy Stevens), The Steady 45s bring a roots rock ’n’ roll aesthetic to traditional ska and rocksteady, making their methodology more akin to New York’s The Slackers.
A-side “Long Time Coming” is a savage ska cut propelled by the gruff voices of lead vocalist Joseph Nieves and support singer Tyler Lutz, yet tempered by a horn line that oscillates between punch and placid. The rocksteady flip, “Pressure,” sways with the ease of a palm in a tradewind, yet beneath the surface it pulses with a yearn and unease that recalls The Clash’s “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais.”
The Steady 45s’ 45 is a powerful presentation. While it would serve the sextet well to draw further from The Clash by incorporating the kind of lyrical wit, insight and bite that Joe Strummer once brought to that band, The Steady 45s’ blend of brusque and polish puts them in a unique space to grow in the city’s blossoming classic reggae scene.