Max and the Invaders: Runninâ€™ on Fumes (MaxTone Records)
Long-lived Milwaukee ska proponents The Invaders have lengthened their name to allay confusion with a similarly monikered Wisconsin British Invasion cover band. But the addendum to their handle gives occasion for Max and the Invaders to expand aesthetic horizons with appropriations of surf/spy/hot-rod rock, various facets of reggae, calypso and sub-Saharan African pop. Adding violin and flute contributes to these Invadersâ€™ distinction among their skanking stylistic kin.
As song lengths
approach the five-minute mark, the groupâ€™s welcome skirts the periphery of
burnout, but there are usually enough vocal and instrumental elements going on to
keep oneâ€™s ears perked. Closing the album with a radical reinterpretation of
fusion jazzman Chuck Mangioneâ€™s biggest easy listening hit shows the good-humored
chutzpah and keen ear for remakes often marking the best of Max & Co.â€™s ska
forebears. Whether the groupâ€™s chosen genre ever sees another burst of
trendiness, their ability to incorporate related sounds should keep them a
favorite among open-minded diehards.