Another not-so-well-kept secret of mine is that I truly enjoy dub. Keep in mind it has to be top-shelf; spare me the jam dudes with delay pedals, please. Well, today I was surprised by something I initially put on as a joke.
But first, a little backhistory:
Remember that Pink Floyd tribute album Dub Side of the Moon by the Easy Star All-Stars? I seem to recall their cover of "Money" had gurgling bongs in place of cash registers. Suffice it to say, I detested it in both concept and execution.
That's what I assumed, anyway. But I had to know how bad it really was, so I gave it a spin. Hmmm... a few tracks in, no feeling of nausea. Blood pressure seems normal — what gives?
Here's what I came up with: The music is fairly authentic as far as dub goes, and creative to boot. Easy Star seems to understand the experimental side of Radiohead, something that countless non-reggae acts (umm, Starsailor, anyone?) miss.
Let's face it — the bassline to "Airbag" is almost dub as it is. And lord knows there's plenty of tape echo on the original album. It also helps that the guest vocalists (including Horace Andy, Toots, and Israel Vibration) sound more enthused here than on their own recent work.
Not a five-star release by any means; more like three-and-a-quarter, if we're using Star Search grading (and why wouldn't we?) But I didn't want to gouge my eardrums with a spork, and that's saying something.
See? I can be swayed from time to time. That's not an invitation to try.