45 Adapters, They Call it Justice (Contra Records/Longshot Music, 2016)

45 Adapters are NYC's premier maximum R&B/Oi! outfit, and they just returned with three topical new tunes meant to move the body and stimulate your mind. The title song, "They Call it Justice," is politically-minded without falling into a left- or right-wing narrative, just a common sense approach to acknowledging one's basic rights when dealing with the judicial system, as stated in these lyrics: "It's not about protecting the guilty, it's not about having a bleeding heart."

Don't think for a minute that these are sterile diatribes, as the three songs pack the musical impact of a NYC subway train coming your way. The sound is equal parts hard charging rock 'n' roll with nods to punk, Oi!, and pub rock, with soulful vocals and catchy choruses meant to be sung along to at your favorite live venue or dive bar. 45 Adapters can be counted on to put out a stomping EP every couple of years or so, and this 2016 release delivers the goods, splitting the difference between something The Business might have done in their prime and a vibe that reflects a deep understanding of vibrant youth subcultures from the past five decades.

I can't help but recall The 4-Skins' classic debut 45, "One Law for Them," from 1981, as this EP echoes and updates that feeling of righteous indignation at the omnipotent powers of the law. Unfortunately, not much has changed. If you're not a member of the privileged few, you're shit out of luck and guilty 'til proven innocent. Here's to a timely musical reminder in this age of habeas corpus being kicked to the curb.

The vinyl version of They Call it Justice will be out soon. In the meantime, you can download the tracks on iTunes.

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