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Checkered past 

click to enlarge The Slackers line up for their glamour shot.
  • The Slackers line up for their glamour shot.

If anything, The Slackers have learned this: Either adapt and grow as a band, or risk becoming a VH1 "Behind the Music" train wreck.

After 15 years of nearly constant touring and rotating band members, the six-member ska troupe seems to have finally hit a smooth spot.

The New York-based Slackers were born out of the early 1990s ska-revivalist period, tapping '70s-era ska, reggae and punk influences to create their own brand of more laid-back offbeats. Their new CD, Peculiar, is their tightest and most cohesive album in years.

Part of the reason, says bassist Marcus Geard, is where the band was when they recorded, both physically and mentally. Peculiar is, well, peculiar. The band decided to record in one of their favorite venues in Holland, trying to capture the energy of the live shows while playing to a near-empty room. Then, as an afterthought, they also recorded two live shows there as well. The result, a Hellcat Records release, is a hybrid in which the bulk of the audio is live, but padded and re-dubbed with studio vocals and horns.

"I think it's a good representation of the band at the time," Geard says. "This is a transitional album, but we've gone through a lot of stuff. We've worked a lot of stuff out; a lot of drastic changes have been made."

No kidding. He points to their old singer, Q-maxx, who "went to Japan, got married, had a couple of kids, not necessarily in that order," as well as a few other ex-members who have dealt with family issues.

"We've had to grow up and learn how to deal with each other. It's more like a marriage," Geard says. "You can't kill them, because that would be illegal, but you can't leave, because that would screw up the whole thing."

CAPSULE

The Slackers

The Black Sheep, 2106 W. Platte Ave.

Tuesday, May 9, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $10, all ages; call 866/468-7621 or visit ticketweb.com for more.

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